Taking your will across state lines


Recycles dryer sheets
Jul 4, 2005
Hi All!

If you validly execute a will in California when you live in California, then move to Florida for your retirement, does your California will go with you? Or do you have to re-execute it in Florida?

I know that if you execute the will in California and and die in California, the will is good in Florida for property located in Florida. That is not my question here. My question is when you change domiciles, do you also need to re-execute your will?

Also, if the CA will is valid, which State's rules of construction apply - the state where executed (CA) or the state where it is admitted to probate (FL)?

Any insight on this issue is much appreciated. Thanks!
I am no expert in this area but States do have quirks. Some states require a % to a spouse, others require that all children be mentioned. I know when DH and I prepared our wills we made sure that the attny prepared wills consistent with the laws of our state of residence and the states where we might reside (WA, OR and CA). Were we to move elsewhere we would have them reviewed by a local attorney.
It might be good, but maybe not.. as Brat said all states are different... it is always best to get new wills if you plan on staying in a state for awhile...
I would contact an attorney in the new state and have it reviewed and revised as needed. Bottom line, even in the same state laws and court rulings tend to slightly move over time. It is probably good to get a review every 5 years. Not only incase laws change, but so you can discuss and spend time reviewing any adjustments that you might need to make due to life circumstances.

I am a fairly studied person... but I recognize my limitations. It is money well spent to seek the advice of a good estate attorney. Make it part of your 5 year financial checkup.
Our wills and trusts were written in Illinois. We moved to Utah and executed one of the wills and a trust while in Utah. It made no difference that we were in Utah. However, when I remarried, we redid everything in Utah just to "make sure" every thing was Ok in this state.

It all depends on how the estate documents are written. Most can be written in a generic manner and should be fine state to state. It seems to be the little twists and turns people try to put into a will that can be a problem going from state to state. We had (have) Pour Over Wills so they are very short and to the point with no allocation of assets or special treatment of heirs so very simple wills of this type should be fine. If you have wills that are more complex, please see an estate lawyer to make sure. You don't want to find out it is flawed when you actually use it.

BTW, even with wills and trusts, my late wife's estate had to go through probate...twice. The most recent was due to a title wording error with some property we owned jointly. Despite changes to the title after her death, a very minor but significant error was seen on the title,(that my lawyer missed!) when I tried to sell the property. I had to take it to a probate court to fix it.
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