Answer: With very few exceptions, a Will or a trust that is valid in the State in which it is created will be valid in another State. Thus, Wills and trusts are generally “portable” from one State to another. It is still a good idea to have your Will and trust reviewed by an attorney licensed to practice in your new State of residence, because there might be some peculiarity of local law that should be addressed in your estate plan.
The rules regarding advance health-care directives and powers of attorney, on the other hand, vary enough from State to State that you should certainly have these documents reviewed–and probably updated–when you move to another State. Another document that should be reviewed and probably updated when you move goes hand in hand with your advance directive. It goes by various names (one of them is “HIPAA Authorization”), but its purpose is to give your medical providers permission to communicate with your chosen decision-makers. There are both Federal and State privacy laws that dictate how this authorization is given, and if your document does not satisfy local law, your advance directive may be unusable.
All of this underlines the importance of reviewing and updating your estate plan on a regular basis–we suggest once a year–because there are a great many factors that can affect how well your estate plan works. The law changes from time to time, your health changes over time, your preferences regarding who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable will probably change, and your dispositive wishes (who gets what) will probably change as well. The only way to make sure that your estate plan keeps up with these changes is to review it with your trusted advisors and make any necessary “course adjustments” as the changes become apparent.
A tremendous help in finding advisors to assist you is http://www.eldercarematters.com/statechapters.htm.
Scott A. Makuakane, Esq., CFP
Est8Planning Counsel LLLC
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Hawaii chapter
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