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Pack up estate planning with move

Michigan residents who move to and even visit other states should not overlook updating their long-term planning and reviewing their estate planning documents. Other states will respect the validity of these documents and plans if they are legal in those states. However, there are important exceptions.

Most state laws are similar. Contracts governed by Michigan law are still enforceable in other states and still governed by the laws in Michigan.

A living trust is one type of contract that is enforceable across the country. The trust-maker creates these documents and enters an agreement with a trustee who manages its benefits for the benefit of the trust-maker and a beneficiary in accordance with the terms set forth in the trust.

A trust is governed under Michigan law even though the trust-maker moves to another state. If the trustee still lives in Michigan, it may be advisable to have Michigan law govern that trust.

However, some states have different laws concerning other documents and estate planning. For example, end-of-life instructions that were drafted in Michigan in accordance with its laws may be illegal in Florida.

State laws specifically govern other issues for residents or persons located in those states. These include financial and health care powers of attorneys and wills. States have less uniform laws on these issues since the passage of laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act and the Patriot Act and the 2008 mortgage crisis.

Residents of other states who spend time in Michigan may not have all the advantages of Michigan law if their documents were drafted in another state for matters such as powers of attorney. Michigan is also one of the few states that requires financial agents under a power of attorney to sign a written acknowledgment.

Persons who spend time in different states may consider having a set of powers of attorney that are valid under the laws of these different states. Persons who move should also review whether their estate planning documents are valid in the other state.

An attorney can help present options and draft estate and other documents that comply with all applicable laws. They can also assist with reviewing existing documents and recommending updates and revisions.

Source: The Times Herald, "Moving can affect your financial planning," By Matthew M. Wallace, Esq., CPA, Dec. 1, 2017

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