Have You Moved to North Carolina from Another State?

NC Welcome MatAre your estate planning documents or will from out of state valid in North Carolina? The answer is, it depends. The constitution requires each state to give “full faith and credit” to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of which a will is included. But your will, power of attorney, or health power of attorney, are several documents that could be affected by moving to a new state. Different states have different laws and although most states’ laws are somewhat consistent, there remains some differences.

In some cases, your will may be valid, but specific provisions in the will might not be. Community property state wills could contain provisions that are not recognized in NC because NC is not a community property state. Likewise, some states allow you to disinherit a spouse, but NC has specific laws that protect a spouse from being disinherited. If you own property in the state you have moved from and acquired property here in NC, upon death you will be required to probate the will in each state in which you own property. In that case you may be best served by considering a living trust vs. a simple will because it would not require the probate process when one passes, thereby saving time and money in the administration of the estate.

Simple wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care directives can all create delays if drafted out of state. Hospitals may require their legal department time to determine whether the out of state living will or health care directive is valid. Additionally, a power of attorney will usually refer to state specific statutes in the location where it was drafted and therefore be more difficult to administer in NC. For these reasons it is always beneficial to have a local NC attorney review your documents to determine their validity or their difficulty in administering if something should happen to you or your loved one while living in NC. Even if the attorney should suggest drafting new documents, a simple will, power of attorney, living will, and health care agent package should be modest in price and more than pay for itself in time saved and confusion prevented if something should happen to you or a family member.

There are other reasons you may want to have a will from out of state rewritten in NC. Ray Goodwin would be happy to review your current documents and discuss with you the benefits, if any, that may be accomplished in re-drafting your wills or estate planning documents in North Carolina. Especially if you have decided to call NC home.