Moving To Colorado With Your Estate Plan

Moving To Colorado With Your Estate Plan

If you’re moving to Colorado, or have been here awhile but haven an out-of-state estate plan you’ll eventually need to update it. Since, Colorado’s laws most likely differ from your old state, these differences can have a significant impact on your will and other estate plan documents. Some of the more common differences are:

  • Estate taxes vary in every state.
  • Probate rules and procedures differ from one state to another.
  • Marital property rules may can be different.
  • Health care statutes also differ from one state to another.

Moving To Colorado Is A Major Change

You should update your documents every time there are major changes in your life. And since our lives are always changing; most people’s estate plans last between 5 to 10 years. I’ve read a few wills that still serve their purpose after 15 years. Once they go beyond 15 years, they tend to get stale.

Should you keep your old estate plan, or get a new one?

In estate planning, moving to a new state is considered a major change. Some other big changes are deaths, aging, and divorces among your family members as well as your agents and representatives. If there’s only one major change, you can probably get by for awhile. If you have a couple of major changes it’s definitely time for an update.

What Documents You Should Update

The documents you’ll need to update are dependent other changes besides relocating to Colorado. Here’s a breakdown of things to take into consideration:

Will – a) Is your executor still willing and able to fulfill his/her role? b) Will your estate be able to go through the informal probate process? c) Do your assets still go to your intended beneficiaries?

Trust – a) Is it easier to amend your trust than to completely redo it? b) Is your trustee still willing and able to fulfill his/her role? c) Do the assets still go to your intended beneficiaries?

Powers of Attorney – Take your financial power of attorney to your (new) bank and financial institutions and see if they will accept it. If they won’t, then you’ll need to get a new one. Likewise, take your medical power of attorney to your doctor and health care provider and see if they’ll accept it.

Living Will – Since, state living wills (advanced medical directives) are state specific, and since a living will form is so easy to obtain, I recommend renewing your living will.

Get Around To It

Article IV of the Constitution requires states to give “full faith and credit” to laws of other states. Your will, trust, powers of attorney, and living will from your previous state will be valid in Colorado. Nevertheless, even if a document is valid in another state, it doesn’t mean it will work as intended in Colorado. Keep in mind, even though your estate plan documents are good here in Colorado; sometimes banks, medical providers, and health care institutions won’t accept documents and forms they’re not familiar with. Although revising your estate plan isn’t something you’ll need to do right away; it should be on your list of things to get around to, once you’ve settled in.

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