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If planning a move across state lines, is a will executed in one state valid in another?

Answer: Yes, a validly executed will in one state is generally recognized in all states.

Our highly mobile society often finds us moving from one state to another. While the courts in all states will recognize a validly executed will, there are some issues that could require updates to the will:

  1. Transfer of real property at death are governed by the law of the state in which the land is located, but the law of the decedent's residence at the time of death governs personal property matters.

  2. If the two states have the same property laws, both Common Law or both Community Property Law, then marriage matters. Some states use a community property system where all assets earned during marriage belong to both husband and wife. In Common Law, the majority of states, property acquired by one member of a married couple is owned completely and solely by that person. The exception in Common law states is when a couple have both names listed on deeds or sales contracts, then the property is jointly owned.

  3. States can vary as to what happens to gifts designated to ex-relatives upon divorce.

To be on the safe side, reviewing your estate planning will ensure accuracy if you’re planning a move across state lines.

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