Many people who create an estate plan assume that it is something they’ll only have to worry about once. However, experts say that it is good practice to revisit one’s estate plan periodically, especially when that person’s life circumstances may have changed. A good time to think about estate planning is after moving to a new state. There may be different laws in Maryland that weren’t applicable in other places, meaning new residents will want to look over any existing plan.
One of the biggest differences could be to a person’s medical directives, as different laws in different states may dictate whether one’s original plan is still applicable. This could be especially important if time is of the essence in medical care for someone who is still living or near the end of his or her life, as having to verify any out-of-state directives could slow down care. Similarly, if one has named an out-of-state executor, he or she will be expected to appoint an in-state representative.
Property questions also arise with out-of-state estate plans. Having a different state as one’s official domicile can have significant and unfavorable tax implications. For those who moved from a community property state to Maryland, which is an equitable distribution state, death or divorce can have undesired consequences when it comes time to reallocate assets. It is also a good idea to ensure that any property one owns, in or out of state, is titled in an advantageous way that minimizes one’s tax burden.
The bottom line is that moving to a new state, whether one is coming to or moving away from Maryland, is a major life event. It is the type of event that may prompt a person to update or create a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that assets are distributed and care is provided in a manner that aligns with that person’s desires. For those who are interested, an estate planning attorney may prove to be a valuable guide.