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Lessons in the Law February Report

February 15, 2023

Are Out-of-State Wills Valid?

Recently a GCU member sent me an email with a question that many people may also have. The question was “I had my Will prepared in Idaho and now I live in Pennsylvania, is my Will still valid?” The simple answer is “yes.” If the Will was valid in the state where it is executed, it is valid in all states.

The problem might be whether the state probate court where you live appoints the executor named in your Will? This answer is “maybe.” Many states will not appoint an out-of-state executor. Other states will appoint an out-of-state executor only if you are related to the testator (Will maker) if you are inheriting under the Will. All out-of-state executors are subject to having a probate executor’s bond which could be very expensive.

If you did a Will out-of-state and now live in another state, even though the Will is valid, I strongly recommend you check with a local lawyer to see what would happen in your case.

Usually, Powers of Attorneys and Advanced Directives are state specific, and in most cases should also be updated if you have moved. It is usually best to contact your attorney. I recently contacted an online seller of Wills, Powers of Attorneys and Advanced Directives to tell them that these forms were not Ohio specific. The response from the company was, as far as their attorneys were concerned, the documents are good and valid in all states. This is not true. Buyer, be aware of what you are buying. Estate planning is not the place to try to save money and do it yourself. Please contact your local attorney that works in this area.

Questions, comments or ideas about future articles contact me at jurban.gcu@GCUusa.com

Atty. John J. Urban

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