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Updating Your Estate Plan When Moving to a New State

In my practice as a Folsom attorney who is experienced in estate planning, I have quite a few clients who have moved to California from other states. Given the implications for their estate plans, they come to me for guidance. As such, I believe it’s important to review and update your estate plan to ensure it complies with California laws and reflects your new circumstances. Here are some steps to consider when updating your estate plan after a move to California:

  1. Consult a California Attorney: It’s advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in California. State laws can vary, and an attorney familiar with California specific estate planning regulations can help ensure your plan conforms to state requirements.
  2. Review Your Will and Trust: If you have a will or trust established in your previous state of residence, review these documents with your California attorney. Ensure they are still legally valid in California and make any necessary updates to align them with California law.
  3. Update Beneficiary Designations: Review and update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and financial accounts to reflect your new circumstances. These designations take precedence over your will or trust. Many clients assume that they do not need to change beneficiary designations because those matters are covered by their will or trust.  That is inaccurate and leads to unnecessary issues down the line. 
  4. Power of Attorney and Healthcare Documents: Consider updating your power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents to comply with California’s specific requirements. California may have different forms or statutory provisions governing these documents. In California, the primary healthcare document is referred to as an Advance Directive for Health Care. 
  5. Guardianship Designations: If you have minor children, review and update your guardianship designations to name guardians who reside in California and are willing to assume this responsibility.
  6. Review Tax Implications: California does not have its own state estate tax system, which may be important to some individuals. Consider how your move to California may affect your overall estate planning, including potential tax implications. It is important to note that in California, estate taxation is still levied on estates valued at over $13.61m for federal estate tax purposes. 
  7. Property Ownership: If you own real estate in California, consult with an estate planning or real estate attorney to determine the best way to hold the title, especially if you’re relocating from a separate property state.
  8. Beneficiary Trusts: If you have established beneficiary trusts or other specialized trusts, review and update them to align with your new circumstances.
  9. Digital Assets: Consider updating your estate plan to account for digital assets, including online accounts, social media profiles, and cryptocurrency holdings, if applicable.
  10. Review Family Dynamics: Reassess your family’s circumstances and dynamics to determine whether any changes in beneficiaries, distribution plans, or trustees are necessary.
  11. Review Asset Protection and Asset Preservation Strategies: If you have asset protection or asset preservation strategies in place, consult your attorney to ensure they remain effective under California law.
  12. Probate and Trust Administration: Review your choice of executor or trustee to ensure they are an California resident or have the capacity to serve in this role under California law.
  13. Estate Plan Organization: Keep your estate planning documents organized and accessible to your appointed representatives in California.


Relocating to a new state presents an opportunity to ensure that your estate plan reflects your current wishes and complies with the laws of your new state of residence. Consulting with an experienced Folsom estate planning attorney is essential to navigate these changes and make necessary updates to your estate plan. If you have any questions about estate planning and moving to a new state, please contact Thapar Law at 916-579-0605 or send us a message

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Karn was absolutely amazing in helping our family’s estate planning. So professional and made the process so easy. A hell of a guy!!!

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Efficient, quick, friendly. An easy experience.

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Karn is very easy to talk to! Professional, responsive, very engaging, explains the processes. Very honest World class Attorney!!

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Karn was recommended to me by a friend who had worked with him in the past. He took the time to walk me through the estate planning process, addressed my many questions and at no point made me feel pressured to...

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