Moving to a New State: Do You Need a New Will?

If you have just moved to Texas or are moving to another state, your Will is probably not very high up on your priority list. However, when you eventually get to it, the most common question will linger – is your Will still good in a new state?

In many cases, a Will that is valid in one state is  valid in all states.  However, the validity of a Will is determined by each specific state.  Texas requires most Wills to have 2 witnesses, while some states only one require one witness, and others require 3 witnesses.  Additionally, there are still a few other aspects to consider:

  • Handwritten – Texas recognizes handwritten (also known as holographic) Wills, but that is not the case in all states. Some states may recognize handwritten Wills if they are just signed and dated while others may need to be notarized. You need to familiarize yourself on the rules for your new state if you have a handwritten Will, but it may just be better to consider drafting a non-handwritten one instead.
  • Common Law vs. Community Property – If you are married, moving from a common law state to a community property state can throw a wrench into your estate plan.  In community property states, the assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be owned by both spouses equally, while in common law property states, income earned by one spouse or the other is deemed to be owned by the spouse who earned it.  Moving from a common law property state to a community property state, or vice versa, can affect the property that one spouse or the other might be able to control under his or her Will.

While those are the two most common factors to consider, there are many other small aspects that you want to talk over with your attorney. If you have just moved to Texas and want to discuss the validity of your Will, contact us today.

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