If you recently moved to California from another state, take a fresh look at your estate plan. It may be time to make some changes, whether because of the move or because your plan is out of date. Here are a few reasons to update the plan now.
State laws govern trust documents, and the laws are different in every state. Many trust documents specify a “situs” for the trust (essentially the home state where the trust property will be administered) and specify which state’s law should be followed in interpreting the trust document. If your trust specifies your old state, you may want to change it to California instead. Your decision about whether to make this change will depend in part on where the property held by the trust is located.
California is a community property state, meaning each spouse in a marriage owns property acquired during the marriage equally with the other spouse. In contrast, many other states are separate property states. For estate planning purposes, you should work with an attorney to check that your personal interests in property are maintained in the way you want.
If you picked an executor and designated guardians who live in your old state, you may want to select new people. Having executors and guardians present in the state makes things easier when the time comes for them to act. Sometimes executors have to satisfy certain requirements based on the state where they live in order to serve as an executor for you. As to guardians, you may want your child to have as little life disruption as possible if a guardian is necessary. An in-state guardian will help.
Some states have a state estate tax that applies to large estates. If you move from one of these states or Washington, D.C. to California, your estate plan may account for this tax. California currently has no state estate tax. An estate planning attorney can determine which parts of your estate plan were meant to address state estate tax issues and alter them if necessary to better suit your new life in California.
Fortunately, California recognizes powers of attorney executed in other states as long as the documents comply with that state’s laws or substantially comply with California law. Even if you have a power of attorney in place, now is a great time to read through the document and determine if you need to make changes. Similar to your possible need to change executor and guardian, you may need to change your agent listed in the document.
In short, this big change in your life may be an opportunity to make big changes in your estate planning. Find a California estate planning attorney to review your estate plan for compliance with California law.
Planning your estate? Angela Klenk, Esq. and the team at Beach Cities Estate Law couple personalized attention to your estate plan with big law firm experience for a winning combination to give you peace of mind. To schedule a case evaluation, visit Beach Cities Estate Law online or call (424) 400-2125.