Probate, estate, and property law are very state-specific. While all American probate, estate, and property law is deeply rooted in old, feudal, English law, there are idiosyncrasies from state-to-state that could have a big impact on your estate planning. This begs the question, what type of estate plan is best for a person or family who anticipates moving?
Almost any estate planning document you write must be created under the laws in which you are domiciled at the time you create it. A will eventually has to go to a probate court to be proved as valid in front of a judge, so a will is generally written with a specific state’s probate court requirements in mind. A will written in a different state could very well be valid in a state other than the one in which it was written. However, it might not have all the requirements required in the new state’s probate court, and not having all the state’s requirements could lengthen the probate process. And a lengthy probate process could be an expensive probate process . . .
A trust, however, is more like a contract than a property transfer, believe it or not. A revocable living trust is created to give instructions on what should happen to your stuff after you die—just like a will—but a well-written trust is also created to avoid having to go to court. If you transfer all of your titled assets into a trust while you’re still alive, then a court doesn’t have to be involved in the transfer of property. If you don’t have to go to court, then you don’t have to worry about that state’s probate laws!
If you’ve recently moved to Texas and aren’t sure if your current will or trust should be updated, make an appointment with one of our attorneys so that we can review it and advise you on what updates, if any, should be made.