Do I need a new living will if I move to a new state? 35 Answers as of June 27, 2013

To make a living will legal, do you need an attorney or can the documents just be notarized? Do the laws differ by state, and if so do I need a new one if I move?

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Paul Nidich, Attorney at law
Paul Nidich, Attorney at law | Paul Nidich
*You should always have an attorney to draft wills, trusts, etc. Some states require the signature of the attorney drafting the document; other don't. Better to pay some money to have it done right than do it yourself and risk having it done incorrectly.*
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/13/2012
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Because I'm only licensed to practice in Florida, I would suspect that the laws may differ from state to state and may be necessary to execute a new living will if you move to different state. However reciprocity may exist between the states and the living will for Florida may be valid in another state. The procedures for executing a living will are: 1) the principal must be a competent adult 2) The principal must sign in the presence of two subscribing witnesses 3) At least one of the witnesses must be neither the spouse or a blood relative of the principal. If the principal designates a surrogate, the surrogate should not be a witness. So no you do not need an attorney or the document to be notarized.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/11/2012
Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
The laws differ by state, and it is always a good idea to have a local estate planning attorney.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/10/2012
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
In California the term "living will" is usually interpreted to mean a writing in which you state your wishes regarding being kept alive by extraordinary measures. Living Will provisions are now typically part of an Advance Health Care Directive. Living Will is not to be confused with a "living trust" also called an "inter vivos trust" meaning a trust which is put into place while you are still alive, as opposed to a trust which arises after you die, pursuant to provisions in your Will, called a "testamentary trust." Yes, all these products may differ state to state.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/8/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
The laws do differ from state regarding wills. If you did the will in a state you no longer have assets, real or personal, then a new will may be in order. It all depends on how your current will is worded, too.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/8/2012
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    Yes, especially if you plan on acquiring a home in that state as well as other assets and a business. The documents can be notarized. You do not have to have an attorney however, many times when people do not the documents are not correct or as successful as they are when an attorney drafts and prepares them. You will want to keep your old plan from the other state until you get a new one as the old one can still be referred to even though it will not help you avoid probate especially in the state of California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Bruning & Associates, PC
    Bruning & Associates, PC | Kevin Bruning
    Estate planning documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are often governed by the law in which they are drafted. If you have moved, you may want to get an update to your estate plan or at least meet with an estate planning attorney to determine if your old documents are functional in your new state.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    I need to make sure that you are speaking about a living Will and not a Living Trust or a Last Will and Testament. These are three entirely different documents. Often, people say Living Will when they mean Living Trust. A Living Will is not legally recognized in Michigan and 2 other states. If that is what you have, then you would need to have it redone, because if the document is not legally valid in Michigan, then most other states will not recognize it. If you have a Living Trust or Last Will and Testament, then you should at least have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney in the new State. He/she can tell you if it is fine or if it needs to be adjusted.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Horn & Johnsen SC
    Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
    A Living Will is a legal document through which you express whether or not you wish to be kept alive artificially under certain circumstances (i.e., if you are in a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state). A Living Will, and a Health Care Power of Attorney, are state-specific documents.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Generally you do not need a new living trust or will when you change state of residence. It is advisable to have an attorney to prepare your estate plan who will provide the notary also when executing the documents needed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    The legal documents for an Estate plan are state specific. That means, each state has their own rules governing a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Agency. While each state will honor the documents of other states it is best to have documents designed by the home state where you currently live. In addition, Wills should be reviewed every 3 years to insure that the circumstances that you were in when the old Will was created are still present. Make sure that you use an estate attorney. If you use the Internet please have an attorney to review and have the documents signed and motorized. There are experienced attorneys in Georgia who will do the estate packages for $250.00 per package. Barry Your financial plan is not complete until it is co-ordinates with your estate plan. Will your family be provided for when you are gone? Without a Will, the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If you have a valid living will, it is valid in any state.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Yes, the law of each state as to living Wills is different. Oregon is unusual in some respects so it is unlikely that an Oregon living Will would be respected in another state. If you move to another state, you need to execute a living Will that complies with that state's rules. Often hospitals and clinics will have their own form that they will provide to you for free.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Each state have their own requirements, you should consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    Yes the laws differ from state to state and your best bet is to check with an attorney to make sure that the "living will" you have now is good in the state you are going to move in. Although each state is required to recognize documents that are valid in other states the best practice is to get a new "living will" done so that it matches what the new state requires.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Offices of R. Christine Brown | R. Christine Brown
    Whenever you move to another state, you should have your estate planning documents reviewed to see if they comply with that state's laws. While the laws can be similar state to state, they can also be different.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    It is a good idea to update it. What will happen if the hospital does not recognize it. Better to be safe than sorry.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Not necessarily, however to be sure contact a local attorney in your new state.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    The laws regarding health care power of attorneys are specific to each state. Your advance directives should be reviewed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    In Florida, a living will does not need to be notarized (although, they often are notarized), but it does need to be signed in front of two witnesses. If your living will from a different state was signed in front of two witnesses, it should be OK in Florida. Also, keep in mind that a living will, in Florida, only take effect if you are terminal, in an end-stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    I suggest you consult a lawyer about this in the new state.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    The term "living will" does not really have much meaning in Oregon. I assume you are talking about an Advance Directive, which are legal documents concerning health care. These documents do differ by state. As to whether you need an attorney to help you with the documents, the question is, "how important are these choices to you?" The law concerning health care decisions is complicated; if you get your documents wrong, then your health care will not be directed as you want. The nature of these documents is such that you will be unable mentally to make changes or correct mistakes if the documents have to be used. If these choices matter to you, then you should seek the assistance of an attorney with drafting the documents.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    I suggest that you should have your existing Living Will reviewed by an attorney in the new state of residence. This is such an important document that you should not take undue risk of not receiving the treatment you desire. You may find that your current document is acceptable.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    Each state has its own rules. Most states honor a living will signed and valid in another state.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Powell Potter PLLC
    Powell Potter PLLC | Shawn Potter
    If you are worried about it and if you spend a substantial amount of time in another state, just have another living will drawn up in accordance with the rules of the other state. A living will or advance directive prepared according to the law of one state will not always be honored in another state. Some states do honor them, others will only honor them if they are similar to the state's own law; and some states do not.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S.
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S. | Ralph W. Flick
    The laws definitely differ by state; however, in Washington, your estate planning documents will be recognized and enforced provided that they do not conflict with Washington law. You should have a local attorney review your will and your other estate planning documents when you move to a new state just to make sure that your wishes will be honored.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Skillern Law Firm
    Skillern Law Firm | Penni Skillern
    Every state tends to have their own requirements and scenarios when it comes to to living wills. It would be best to get a new living will in the new state if you are planning on staying in the new state for an extended time.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Each state has its own laws about living wills. You may be able to pull the form right from the statutes yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, maybe. The laws relating to living wills may vary by state, so depending on the state to which you are moving you may need a new document. However, many states may honor a living will made validly in another state, so you may want to consult an estates attorney in your state to confirm whether yours is valid. Maryland does not require living wills to be made by an attorney or notarized.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    The laws different by state, so you should at the very least compare your existing one with one from your new state to see if it's different. An attorney isn't required, but is usually recommended.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    The laws as to "living wills" may and probably will vary from state to state. If you move you should make sure that the living will you have passes muster in the new state. You do not have to have a lawyer to make the living will legal but you will need one to make sure it is done properly.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Estate plans should be drafted under the laws of the state of your primary residence, by an instate law firm.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    You should not need a new Living Will. the purpose is to get your intentions and wishes if you can't speak for yourself. However, some states laws are very different (Oregon for example). But your hospital or doctor should have the state form for you to sign.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
    It is not necessary, but usually recommended. Each state may have a different required form. Many states define the information required in a Living will or healthcare power of attorney. If a current LW from a different state does not conform to the state required form your wishes may not be followed. An attorney is not necessary, but recommended. There are certain situations that you may have that would require special execution requirements. If you are not familiar with the selections for a living will you can sometimes have conflicting selections.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/8/2012
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