Should You Change Your Out-of-State Will When Moving to Virginia (or DC or MD)?

When you move to Virginia (or Washington, DC, or Maryland) from another state there is certainly a lot to consider and a lot of decisions to make including where to live, what schools your children will attend (someday…) among other things.  But one thing you may not think about when you move to a new state is your estate plan. While your Will and other plan documents are still legally valid regardless of which state they are from (you may have heard the legal term “full faith and credit” before–that is what we are talking about here), you may be at a great disadvantage should you choose not to update it. By updating your Will and other plan documents you can make sure they are current and reflect your intentions, that they are up to date with any changes in the law, and that you are benefitting from any state laws that are in your best interest. Here are several factors you should keep in mind when changing your will.

Executor/Personal Representative 

You need to appoint a Personal Representative or Executor (same position, the name varies from state to state) of your Will to administer your Estate upon your death.  Choosing an Estate Executor or Personal Representative who lives within close proximity to you can be beneficial for you both. If you name someone to this role who is not a state resident or not local, he or she will have to be willing to travel to Virginia when you become incapacitated or pass away and may have to appoint a local agent and most likely will need to buy a fiduciary bond in order to serve. 

Marital Property Ownership 

What makes certain property marital and other property separate is dependent upon state law. Some states are equitable distribution states while others are community property states. Virginia is an equitable distribution state, so if you move from a state that follows the law of community property, what is considered as belonging to you both will be different. 


When it comes to state inheritance taxes and estate taxes, these will change from state to state. Virginia doe not have a state estate tax nor an inheritance tax, but Maryland has both taxes, and DC has its own estate tax, so tax planning can be a critically important aspect of your plan.


Since probate law differs from one state to another, although your Will is still valid without updating it, the laws of probate may change and your beneficiaries will be required to comply with Virginia (or other jurisdiction) laws. 

Other Plan Documents 

The living documents of your estate plan, or as we prefer to call it, your Peace of Mind Plan, are also given full faith and credit in the new state so don’t have to be changed just because you moved. But we do think that getting local documents for your Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive/Living Will is always the best idea to prevent any issues with acceptance in case of an emergency. While legally valid, if someone has concerns about your document because “that’s not the way we do things around here,” it may create unnecessary issues at a critical time. Plus you can use the relocation as a prompt to update and refresh your living documents because fresher documents that have the latest changes in the law in them are better for you. 

Reilly Law PLC Helps Those in Virginia, DC, and Maryland Who Are in Need of a Comprehensive Estate Plan–or Peace of Mind Plan

At Reilly Law PLC, we understand the importance of protecting your assets and your wishes. We will help you to create and update a comprehensive Peace of Mind Plan as you desire that makes the lives of your loved ones easier. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!