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What Happens to Your Estate Plan If You Move?

Making an estate plan is not a one-time affair. Changes in your life may prompt you to revise your will, trust, power of attorney, or advance directives for health care. Even if you do not think any changes are necessary, it may still be a good idea to periodically speak with a Grand Rapids estate planning attorney about your situation.

Avoiding Confusion Over Out-of-State Documents

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If you have just moved to Michigan from another state, you might want to know if your existing estate planning documents are still valid here. The short answer is yes, your old documents will probably be recognized in Michigan. But longer, more complicated answer is that is still probably a good idea to prepare new estate planning documents that specifically conform to Michigan law.

Estate planning is very state-specific. While Michigan handles subjects like wills and powers of attorney similarly to other states, there are subtle differences. This may be important, especially in an emergency.
For example, let’s say a few months after moving to Grand Rapids, your spouse is in a serious acc
ident and unable to make financial or health care decisions for himself. He previously signed powers of attorney and an advance healthcare directive when you were living in another state. But since these out-of-state forms are unfamiliar to your bank and hospital here, there is a delay in establishing your authority to act on your spouse’s behalf.

Naming Local Agents

Even if your move was not from another state–maybe you moved to a new city within Michigan–it may be prudent to reconsider some of your earlier estate planning decisions. Five years ago when you made your will, you were living in Ann Arbor, and you named your sister (who lived down the street) to serve as guardian of your children if you and you wife passed away. But now that you moved to Holland, on the other side of the state, you want your wife’s brother, who lives closer in Portage, to be the guardian.

Similarly, if you made a will while living in another state, you probably named someone who lived there as executor. While Michigan law does not forbid non-residents from serving as executors, it is not ideal. It makes more sense to sign a new will naming someone in Michigan to oversee your affairs.

Revising and updating your estate plan is not complicated. Indeed, you should review your documents every few years even if you have not moved. The Grand Rapids estate planning lawyers at the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C., are happy to assist. Call us today to schedule a consultation.