If my parents drew up a Will many years ago in their former state of residnce, should they now have a new one drawn up?

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2014

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If my parents drew up a Will many years ago in their former state of residnce, should they now have a new one drawn up?

My parents have now moved to permanently to another state and have full residence there. Should they revise their Will in their new state? What would happen if they pass away with the existing Will?

Asked on February 6, 2014 under Estate Planning, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you prepared a will in your old state of residence and it was valid there, then it’s probably valid in your new state as well; most states have laws that explicitly say this. So far, so good.

Still, out-of-state wills pose a couple of possible problems—or at least reasons to think about writing a new will.

Marital property rules. If you’re married and move from a community property state to a common law state, or vice versa, the rules about what you and your spouse own can change. In community property states, spouses generally own together anything they require while they’re married. (There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as property that’s inherited by just one spouse.) In other states, each spouse generally owns whatever is in has in his or her name. If you move to a community property state, the state may treat all your property as if it had been acquired in the community property state—which may not be what you and your spouse want. It’s a good idea to make new wills.

Answer: Your parents should revise their wills. If they pass with them in effect, the current ones control their wishes.

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