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How relocation to a new state affects estate planning

Florida residents may be interested in how relocation to a new state will affect one's estate planning documents. Generally, states recognize any documents that are valid in the state in which they were signed. However, there can be some complexities that are unique to individual states. Experts recommend that individuals have their wills and trusts reviewed by an experienced attorney in their new state to see if their documents cover the state's laws and regulations.

One area that can differ from state-to-state is how creditors can pursue one's assets. The documents that an individual has in one state may not necessarily provide the same protection in another. State estate taxes are another area that can differ among states. Some states have estate taxes while others don't. Also, the exemption levels in states may be lower than the federal estate tax exemption level.

The rules regarding a power of attorney are also different from state-to-state. A power of attorney allows an individual to appoint another person as their agent in legal and financial affairs should they become medically incapacitated. A power of attorney that is valid in one state may not be valid in another. For example, the state of Florida requires two witness signatures for a power of attorney to be valid. If an individual moves to another state, that state may have different requirements to make the document valid.

An experienced estate attorney could review an individual's documents and make a recommendation about how the documents should be updated. It's also important to meet with an estate attorney in one's new state to establish a good working relationship. As a person's family and financial situation changes, there may be a need to update documents. Having a relationship with an attorney may be able to help expedite that process.

Source: Forbes, "Moving To A New State: How To Put Down Financial Roots", Deborah L. Jacobs, March 19, 2014

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