Do You Need to Update Your Estate Plan After Moving to California?

If you recently moved to San Diego or elsewhere in California, you might be wondering whether your will, living trust, or medical directive is still valid in your new state. The short answer is yes. An estate planning document that was written in another state typically does not become invalid just because you relocated to California.

However, it is important to remember that California, just like every other state in the nation, has its own unique set of estate planning statutes. As such, your documents may need to be revised to ensure they comply with local laws.

The main reasons why you might want to update your estate plan after moving to California are:

The Location of Your Executor

When you created your initial estate plan, you probably chose somebody who lived nearby to be your executor. In most cases, that’s a trusted friend or family member.

Now that you’ve made the move to California, though, it might not make sense for that person to continue serving as your executor. It’s simply a lot more practical for an individual who lives near your new home to file paperwork and inventory your assets after you pass away.

California’s Community Property Laws

Most jurisdictions in the US use a common law property system under which assets acquired by one member of a married couple remain the sole property of that person unless they opt to add their spouse’s name to the title or deed.

California does not use this system. Instead, it has community property laws that state all assets acquired during the course of a marriage belong to both spouses – even if only one party’s name is on the title or deed.

This distinction can have a significant impact on the way your assets are distributed among your spouse, kids, and other relatives after you die.

The Acquisition of New Property

When you made the move to California, did you sell your old house and purchase a new one? If so, you might want to update your will to include your new property. Similarly, if you have a living trust, you’ll need to ensure the building is in the trust’s name.

You may also need to update your estate plan if you have acquired any other major assets since moving to California, including:

  • Cars
  • Boats
  • RVs
  • Artwork
  • Jewelry

Of course, as you revise your estate plan, it is vital to remember that all of these new assets will be classified as community property in California.

A California Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust 

Would you like to have an experienced San Diego family lawyer analyze your estate plan and let you know if it needs to be updated? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team here at the Semanchik Law Group. We have been helping Californians with wills, living trusts, and other estate planning matters for years, and we would love to do the same for you!

To set up a consultation all you have to do is give us a call at (619) 535-1811 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to assisting you!