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Is a will written in one state valid in another?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2021 | Estate Planning

Circumstances and situations may change, and recent events could affect estate planning. A person who moved to Texas may have a will initially written in another state, or a will drawn up in Texas may have clauses that don’t apply when someone moves elsewhere. A critical question may arise about whether the document is valid if written in another state.

State laws and probating a will

When opening an estate after the testator passes away, the process occurs in state probate court. Since probate does not involve federal statutes or courts, laws may vary from state to state. However, if a will written in one state does not violate the regulations found in another state, the will may prove valid.

One state may require a will to be signed and dated in front of two witnesses. If that is what occurred in the previous state, the document won’t violate the new state’s main validity statutes. Of course, if another element in the will clashes with state law, then problems may arise. For example, one state may accept a handwritten will while another state would not. The same might be the case with oral wills.

Performing estate planning for multiple states

Anyone involved in estate planning might need to focus on the word “planning.” When anticipating or preparing a move, it may be necessary to take additional steps to address any potential problems.

A person who owns property or has assets in more than one state might benefit from making sure the will meets the requirements of all the states involved. When someone moves to a new state, it’s wise to review the local laws to ensure a previously written will meets the new jurisdiction’s requirements.

Working with an attorney might cut down on the chances of making errors that invalidate a will. Someone who writes a do-it-yourself will might not consider other jurisdictional statutes. The document might not even be valid in the state initially intended.

Probate and estate matters may vary from one state to another. For this reason, effective estate planning should take relocations and multi-state probate proceedings into consideration. An attorney may help with this process.