In Estate Planning, Consider Not Only the “What”, But the “Where”

| May 5, 2021 | clients' legal issues, Estate Planning

When it comes to the general principles of estate planning, they are the same in every state of the U.S., nolo.com explains. The basic concept is the same wherever you reside: you want to get your affairs in order so that:

  • your assets go to the people or charities you want to inherit them
  • family members don’t need to be confused or angry
  • unnecessary costs are avoided
    delay is avoided
  • someone you trust has authority to make sure your wishes get followed

That having been said, state laws differ, and you need to know your own state’s rules before you can do effective estate planning.

At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, P.C, for example, we have always represented the residents, business owners and families of central Indiana. Many of our clients moved here from other states, and our task became helping them update their wills and trusts to make sure they are in compliance with Indiana law. Conversely, when Indiana clients are planning to move out of state, we help refer them to estate planning professionals in their new place of residence.

Not only is it true that estate and inheritance tax law differ from state to state, people’s affairs often “cross borders”. Jack and Sue may own real estate in two different states, with beneficiaries who live in four other states! Their estate plan needs to consider all of these factors. For one thing, the couple should be sure to give healthcare powers of attorney to people who live nearby, available to talk to doctors and nurses about their care.

Inheritance tax laws also greatly differ. Since 2013, Indiana has not had its own inheritance or estate tax while other states do still tax inheritances. For a will to be considered valid under Indiana law, it must be handwritten or printed, plus contain the decedent’s signature along with the signatures of two witnesses.

When it comes to estate planning, moving and “starting over” needn’t mean starting from scratch. The difficult part (getting your thoughts together about the legacy you wish to leave) has been done. You do, however, need to make sure your estate planning documents are in full compliance with your new state’s laws, Michelle Kaminsky, Esq. writes in legalzoom.com. 

Whether you’re moving into or out of our state of Indiana, at Geyer Law, our role is to help you evaluate your unique situation, and develop a game plan for securing your assets and protecting your loved ones’ well-being.

– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team