DBTC Law Firm

New to Arkansas–estates in other states

Are you recently arrived in Arkansas, or about  to leave?   A frequently asked question is whether clients must revise their Wills, Trusts and other estate planning documents to make them valid in their new state of residence. The answer is, “no and yes.”  The United States Constitution requires that each state give “full faith and credit” to legal actions taken in another state. Thus, a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney or Living Will Declaration properly drawn in Arkansas must be legally respected in another state, if the client changes residence. However, each state has its own laws–which can differ substantially from the laws of other states–regarding property, taxes, the identification of heirs, the administration of trusts and estates, the authority and responsibility of trustees, executors, agents, etc.  Thus, while a Will drawn in Arkansas will be held valid in Texas, for example, the interpretation and administration of that Will which was drawn in contemplation of Arkansas internal laws may be considerably different, or even unworkable, when administered in Texas, which has community property laws (which Arkansas does not), different tax laws pertaining to property and estates, and different laws as to the responsibility of trustees and executors. It is thus always advisable, when one takes up residence in a new state, to have your estate plan reviewed by a competent attorney in that state.

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