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Do Texas Newcomers Need to Update Their Wills?

McNair Dallas Law

Texas Newcomers need to update their wills

While legally you may not need all-new estate planning documents if you move to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed by a local attorney in your new home.

Many people wonder if they need to update their wills after moving to the great state of Texas.  Although the U.S. Constitution requires states to give “full faith and credit” to the laws of other states, there are benefits to having documents created in the “Texas Way”.

Your will, trust, power of attorney, and health care proxy executed in one state should be honored in every other state, but the practical realities are different and depend on the document, says Wealth Advisor’s recent article entitled “Moving to a New State? Be Sure to Update Your Estate Plan.”

Your last will should still be legally valid in Texas, however different probate laws may make certain provisions of the will invalid.  Additionally, Texas allows for Independent Estate Administration which can save the Executor time and money, but only if the right language is used in the document.  This can also happen with revocable trusts.

Advance Directives like Powers of Attorney and a Directive to Physicians should be honored from state to state, but sometimes banks, medical professionals, and financial and health care institutions will refuse to accept unfamiliar or older documents and forms.

You should also know that the execution requirements of your estate planning documents may be different, depending on the state.

For example, there are some states that require witnesses on durable powers of attorney, and others that do not. A state that requires witnesses may not allow a power of attorney without witnesses to be used to convey real estate, even though the document is perfectly valid in the state where it was drafted and signed.

When you move to a different state, it’s also a smart move to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to make certain that your estate plan in general is up to date. There are also other changes in circumstances—like a change in income or marital status—that can also have an impact on your estate plan. Moreover, there may be practical changes you may want to make. For example, you may want to change your trustee or agent under a power of attorney based on which family members will be closer in proximity.

For all these reasons, when you move to Texas it’s wise to have an experienced estate planning attorney  review your estate planning documents.

Reference: Wealth Advisor (Jan. 26, 2021) “Moving to a New State? Be Sure to Update Your Estate Plan”

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