Is a Will and Trust made in one state good in another?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2014

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Is a Will and Trust made in one state good in another?

Asked on January 10, 2014 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

While legally speaking an estate plan properly drafted and signed under one state's laws will most likely be valid in any other state, in reality estate plans do not cross state lines very well. Aside from this, wills, trusts, and other types of estate planning documents can and do become stale and out of date even if they are just a few years old. Here is why wills and other estate planning documents need to be updated when you move.

State Laws Governing Wills, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents Are Different

Each and every state has its own unique laws when it comes to creating and using wills, trusts, advance medical directives, and powers of attorney. This means that after you move your estate planning documents drafted in your former state of residence may function in your new state but only after some extra hurdles are overcome, such as locating witnesses to the documents and obtaining affidavits from them. In other cases your documents may not work at all in your new state simply because the laws of your old state and new state are entirely different.

Wills, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents Have Expiration Dates

Once you have signed your estate planning documents, your estate plan is done, right? Wrong. Year after year state laws and federal laws governing wills, trusts and other estate planning documents change, and over time this will make your estate plan obsolete. So not only will the laws of your new state of residence render your estate plan invalid, but your documents will most likely be useless under the laws of your former state of residence and under federal law.

What You Should Do

If you've moved to a new state or if your estate plan is more than a few years old, then get it reviewed by a qualified estate planning attorney in your area. It is also a good idea to get your estate plan reviewed in states where you own real estate or a business because chances are your documents will need to work there too.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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