What subjects in a will are interchangeable among all states? Is guardianship the same no matter where you live? How about real estate? If I move frequently due to my company, is there anything in my will I know will always be valid or do I have to make changes every time I move?
Due to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State," your will executed in one state will be honored if you move to another state. Which means you don't have to get a new will every time you move. This is also true of revocable trusts; they will be honored in all states.
However, this is less true of durable powers of attorney and health care directives. While they should be honored from state to state, sometimes banks, medical professionals, and financial and health care institutions don't always accept documents and forms they are not familiar with. In addition, for some purposes the execution requirements may be different.
Some states require witnesses on durable powers of attorney and others don't. A state requiring witnesses may not allow a power of attorney that doesn’t include them to be used to convey real estate, even though the document is valid in the state in which it was executed.
Finally, guardianship is an issue when moving from state to state. If you have guardianship over another person in one state and you both move to another state, you will have to terminate the first guardianship and get a new one in the new state. This is because the courts in the first state will no longer have jurisdiction over the person in the new state.
If you are the court-appointed guardian for a parent and the guardianship was created by the courts in their state, but you feel they’d be better off in a facility in a different state (possibly where you live), the assisted living facility may require you have the guardianship transferred.
We recommend working with an elder law attorney to help you prepare all your legal documents and provide advice on what to expect in your state, and anything that may need to be adjusted if you should move to a different state.
We recommend calling for a FREE consultation to discuss your specific situation and needs. Or join Tacoma Elder Care at one of our FREE Workshops! Where you can learn about the vital legal documents everyone should have.