The Elrod Firm

ASK THE PROS

Do we need a new plan after a move to Arkansas?

Justin, my husband and I just moved to Arkansas from Maine. We had wills and power of attorney documents prepared several years ago while we were there. Do we need a new plan now that we live in Arkansas?   – Beth

Beth, thanks for writing. I’m glad to hear that you have some estate planning documents currently in place, and I’m happy to be able to tell you that your documents are not invalid just because you moved from one state to another. Many people fear that documents done in one state will be completely invalid just because they cross state lines, but that is not the case.

While your Maine documents are still valid here in Arkansas, I would recommend that you speak with an attorney in Arkansas to make sure that your documents actually still do what you want them to do. After several years pass, and especially after a big move like you’ve experienced, it is possible that some modifications and updates could be in order.

More importantly, you only mentioned having a will and power of attorney documents. Many people don’t realize that a will still has to go through probate court. Probate is very costly, time consuming, public, and stressful. Many people in Arkansas choose to use a living trust as their primary estate-planning document instead of a will. This is another big issue you should discuss with an Arkansas attorney. Probate is not as costly and difficult in some states as it is in Arkansas, so it is very common for us to meet new Arkansans with wills instead of trusts

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