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Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan if I Move to Another State?

Carl J. Mangine, Attorney at Law, PLLC March 14, 2024

Relocating to another state is no small feat, and updating your estate plan might seem like just another chore on an already long to-do list. But it's an essential step to protect your family, your estate, and your legacy.  

Any time you move out of state, you should revisit your estate plan to make sure it’s legally valid and structured in the way your new state requires. This includes updating your will, trust, power of attorney, and other important documents. 

Whether you're planning to move out of Texas or recently moved to the state, an estate planning attorney can help you make the necessary changes to ensure your estate plan is up-to-date and in accordance with state laws. They can also guide you on any potential tax implications related to your move. 

If you need legal help in or near Schertz, Texas, contact my firm Carl J. Mangine, Attorney at Law, PLLC. I work with clients throughout Guadalupe County, Universal City, Converse, New Braunfels, and San Antonio.  

Understanding State-Specific Estate Planning Laws

Moving to a new state can affect not only your legal residency but also your tax status and the laws that govern estate planning. Each state has its own set of laws regarding estate taxes, probate, inheritance, and other crucial matters that could significantly impact your estate plan. 

If you're planning to relocate to Texas, here's what you should know about its state laws: 

  • In Texas, the state does not levy an estate tax, which means assets can be passed on to heirs without the state taxing the estate. Similarly, Texas does not impose an inheritance tax, allowing beneficiaries to inherit property without having to pay state taxes on it. 

  • Probate laws in Texas are considered to be relatively straightforward and simplified, especially for those who have a well-structured estate plan. Texas offers independent administration of estates, which is less invasive and less expensive than the probate process. This process allows executors to act without constant court supervision, streamlining the administration of the estate. Additionally, for smaller estates, Texas law provides simpler alternatives to the traditional probate process, making it easier and quicker for assets to be distributed to beneficiaries. 

Every state has its own set of laws regarding spousal property rights, estate and inheritance taxes, and how children inherit assets. So, when you relocate, it's crucial that your estate plan aligns with the laws of your new residence to avoid any potential complications down the line. 

Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Texas can help ensure your estate plan takes full advantage of state laws while providing for your loved ones in the most efficient manner possible. In addition to taxes and probate laws, Texas has state-specific laws about the following estate documents. 


One common concern is whether a will that's been properly executed in one state remains valid in another. While this is generally true, it's always wise to update your estate planning documents, even if you're not moving. However, should you decide to move, updating these documents should be one of your top priorities. 

Generally, a properly executed will written in one state in accordance with state laws will most often hold up if you move to a different state. This is true in Texas as well, where the state recognizes and accepts wills from other states as long as they were validly executed. 

Powers of Attorney

The rules for executors of wills can also vary from state to state. Some states may require an executor to be a blood relative or resident of the state. Therefore, it's important to review and update the executor designation when relocating. 

Similarly, each state has laws regarding granting powers of attorney. Reviewing and updating these documents can help avoid any uncertainties or delays in decision-making. 

If you're moving to Texas, it's important to make sure your documents comply with Texas law, which may have specific requirements regarding their format, witnessing, and notarization.  

For instance, Texas law requires the durable power of attorney to be notarized. Additionally, the Texas Estates Code provides statutory durable power of attorney forms that are presumed to be valid and may simplify the process.  

Updating your power of attorney documents upon moving to Texas can prevent potential issues, allowing your appointed agent to act without delay or legal hurdles. 

Revocable Living Trusts

Generally, revocable living trusts should hold up in a new state. However, it's still important to update your estate planning documents to include any new assets acquired in your new state. This helps ensure that there are no hiccups in settling your estate. 

For those who have revocable living trusts and are moving to (or have moved to) Texas, aligning your trust documentation with Texas law is a prudent measure. This alignment is particularly essential for any real estate or property you may acquire in Texas. By ensuring your trust includes these assets, you can maintain seamless management and transfer of your estate upon your passing.  

Consider having a Texas estate planning attorney review your trust to see that it fully benefits from Texas laws. This can provide advantages like privacy protection and can help bypass the probate process for your trust assets. Doing so not only ensures your trust is fully operational in Texas but also that your estate planning goals are met with minimal legal friction and cost. 

Is Texas a Community Property State?

Another key factor to consider is the type of property law your new state adheres to. If you're moving from a common law state to a community property state, you might need to draft a new will or make amendments to your existing documents.  

Texas is a community property state. This means that any assets acquired during the marriage are jointly owned by spouses, with each owning a 50% share. Upon death, half of the community property is inherited by the surviving spouse while the other half can be passed on according to the deceased's will or trust. 

So, if you're moving to Texas from a non-community property state, you will need to update your estate plan to make sure it aligns with the state's community property laws. This can help avoid any surprises and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. 

How Often Should I Update My Estate Plan?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your estate plan should be reviewed whenever a life event occurs, and you may want to review it more frequently if your circumstances change often. As a general rule, consider reviewing your estate plan every three to five years or when significant tax law changes occur. 

More Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

It’s always a good idea to keep your documents up to date - even if you’re not moving.  

Beyond relocating to another state, several life events necessitate a review and possible update to your estate plan. Being proactive in these instances ensures that your wishes are accurately reflected and can be executed as intended.

  1. Marriage or Divorce: Any change to your marital status is a significant event that warrants a review of your estate plan. This includes getting married, divorced, or remarried. You may need to adjust beneficiaries, executors, and guardians in light of these changes. 

  1. Birth or Adoption of a Child: The addition of a new family member is a joyful occasion that should prompt a review of your estate plan to ensure provisions are made for their welfare and guardianship. 

  1. Death of a Beneficiary or Executor: If a designated beneficiary or executor of your estate plan passes away, it is crucial to update your documents to reflect your new choice for these roles. 

  1. Significant Changes in Assets or Liabilities: Acquiring or losing significant assets, such as purchasing a new home or selling a business, may impact how you wish to distribute your estate. Similarly, changes in your liabilities, such as incurring significant debt, could also require adjustments to your plan. 

  1. Changes in Tax Laws: Estate planning laws and tax rates can change, potentially affecting your estate's tax liability. Keeping your estate plan aligned with current laws ensures the most efficient transfer of assets to your beneficiaries. 

  1. A Move to a Different Country: If you move to a different country, this could have profound implications on your estate plan due to varying laws on inheritance and taxation. Consult with a legal professional who is experienced in international estate planning. 

  1. Health Diagnosis: A significant health diagnosis for yourself or a dependent can change your planning needs, especially regarding powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and living trusts. 

  1. A Change in Your Wishes: Simply changing your mind about how you want your estate handled is enough reason to update your estate plan. Your plan should always reflect your current wishes. 

It's wise to make a habit of reviewing your estate plan periodically, even in the absence of major life events, to ensure that it remains an accurate reflection of your desires and circumstances. 

The Comprehensive Support You Deserve

By rethinking your estate plan when you move, you can ensure that any necessary changes conform with state laws. If you need assistance with updating your estate plan or have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to my firm in Schertz, Texas. I'm here to help you with any estate planning matters, from advance directives and powers of attorney to guardianships, will contests, and more.  

When you work with my firm, you're not just a client; you're family. I can help you make the adjustments you need as well as any estate or probate matters that arise in future life events.