Are you planning on moving to Texas or have you recently moved to the state? Either way, you may be well served to revise your existing estate planning documents, such as your last will and testament, trust, durable power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. Surely, it took a lot of time, careful thought and consideration, and effort to prepare these documents and it’s unlikely that you want to start all over from scratch.
Even if you have no desire to revisit your estate planning documents created in another state, it’s still wise to create a new set that meets Texas’ legal requirements. The good news is that if you already created an estate plan, you’ve done the heavy lifting. You have already decided which documents you want and who you want to get what and when. As such, revising them so they are aligned with Texas’ legal requirements should not be difficult.
In any case, estate planning attorneys generally advise their clients to take a close look at their estate planning documents whenever their will is more than five years old or when there has been a major change in the family, for example, a divorce, the birth of a child, or a falling out with a beneficiary. If it’s been more than a few years since you signed your existing estate planning documents, it’s probably a good time for you to review them anyway.
Marital Property Rules Are an Issue
Texas is one of a handful of states that follows the community property method of distribution in a divorce. So, if you’re moving to Texas from an equitable distribution state, the rules about what your spouse can receive upon your death can change.
For example, in equitable distribution states, each spouse typically owns whatever is in their name alone. But in community property states like Texas and California, the state treats all property acquired during the marriage as community property, regardless of whose name is on the title or property, and the same goes for debt. If this is not what you and your spouse want, especially if you have children from a previous marriage, you may want to revisit your previously executed documents.
We are only scratching the surface as to why we recommend updating your estate planning documents when you move to another state. To learn more, we invite you to contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC.