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Common Estate Planning Questions – What if I Move?


If you should move away from, or to, Greensboro, North Carolina, what changes will you have to make to your estate plan? Will your old plan still be good if you created it in a different state? What if you created your estate plan in accordance with the laws of North Carolina, but subsequently move away from North Carolina and to a state that has different laws?

While no two cases are truly identical, there are some general principles you should understand about estate plans in light of a move. If you are planning on moving, have recently moved into or away from North Carolina, or just want more information, you need to speak to an attorney in your area so you can be sure that your estate plan is effective. Until then, here’s what you should know about estate planning in light of a move.

State Legal Differences

Even though there are some significant differences in the way states treat different estate planning issues, the general principle is that other states will respect the estate planning tools created by those who made them in accordance with the laws of the state in which they resided at the time. In other words, if you created an estate plan in North Carolina that met North Carolina legal requirements, that plan will still be effective in your new state. However, there are some significant exceptions to this rule of which you should be aware of.

Incapacity, Advance Directives, and Marital Property

The most common issues that people need to address after they move to a new state are those that involve marital property decisions, medical directives, and incapacity planning tools you might have included in your plan.

Some states treat marital property questions significantly different than in North Carolina. If you are married, you will need to have an attorney in your new state review your estate plan to make sure that it reflects the marital property rules that the state has adopted.

Similarly, some states deal with advance medical directives and other incapacity planning tools significantly differently than North Carolina. Again, moving into or out of North Carolina with an estate plan in place should prompt you to speak to an attorney in your local area so that you can review your tools and make sure they comply with any relevant state laws.

Practical Concerns

Beyond the legal implications, there are also practical limitations you will need to address if you move. For example, if your estate plan has selected representatives that are now much further away from you than before, you might need to update your plan to select people who are closer to you. Other issues, such as dealing with local third parties, may also require slight changes to your plan.


Are you moving away from North Carolina? We recommend you find a qualified estate planning attorney from the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys directory. If you are moving to North Carolina,  The Law Offices of Cheryl David can review your estate plan to make sure it complies with the state laws. Call 336-547-9999 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today or send us a message on our contact us page.

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