There are a number of life events that necessitate a change in one’s existing estate plan. The birth of a child, the death of a spouse and even marriage and divorce create the need to review these documents. One life event that is often overlooked in relation to New Jersey estate planning, however, is a move from one state to another.
When an individual or family relocates to a different state, there are a number of issues that can arise when a will or other documents do not reflect the law or practices used in the state of residence. For example, in certain states, a health care power of attorney is completed through the use of a specific format. Rights are granted to the chosen party in a very legally specific way. If an individual becomes incapacitated and their existing power of attorney paperwork does not contain the same legal language, problems can arise. This is especially true in cases in which the person’s wishes are being disputed between loved ones.
Another matter involves state law and the manner in which a person’s debts are handled upon their death. The source of this funding varies from state to state. If the repayment of debt becomes an issue, the overall size of the inheritance can be diminished. This can result in one’s heirs receiving significantly less than the grantor intended.
When moving from one state to another, individuals should take the time to review their existing estate planning documents to ensure that they meet the legal requirements of the new state of residence. This is a relatively simple and straightforward process, and can be handled with little time and expense. Ensuring that one’s wishes will be carried out in the manner of their choosing is important to many New Jersey families, especially as they move into or out of the state.
Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, “Know the Law: When you move, your estate plan needs a review”, , April 27, 2014