Blog Estate Planning Considerations When Moving To North Carolina

Estate Planning Considerations When Moving To North Carolina

Moving to a new state is an exciting time, but amidst the hustle and bustle of moving, it’s crucial to consider your estate plan. Just as you’re changing your address, your will and other estate planning documents might need updating, too. Each state, including North Carolina, has unique laws and considerations, and ensuring your plan complies with your new home state is critical.

It’s more than just paperwork—it’s about securing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Any time you are moving to a new state, having your estate planning documents reviewed by an experienced attorney is important. 

Your Estate Planning Checklist When Moving To NC

Here are some factors you should consider and actions you may want to take when moving to North Carolina:

  1. Review Your Will And Other Documents: While most states, including North Carolina, recognize out-of-state wills that were created in compliance with the laws of the state where they were originally executed, there could be nuances in North Carolina law that could affect your estate plan. It’s a good idea to have your will and any other agreements reviewed by a North Carolina estate planning attorney to ensure they meet the state’s specific legal requirements.
  2. Understand North Carolina’s Intestate Succession Laws: If you don’t have a will, North Carolina’s laws of intestate succession will govern how your property is distributed after your death. You should familiarize yourself with these laws and consider whether they align with your wishes.
  3. Check Beneficiary Designations: If you have retirement accounts, life insurance policies, or other accounts with beneficiary designations, ensure those designations are still accurate and reflect your current wishes.
  4. Review Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives: North Carolina may have different forms or requirements for financial and health care powers of attorney or health care directives (living wills). Ensure your documents are legally valid in North Carolina and reflect your current wishes.
  5. Understand North Carolina’s Tax Laws: North Carolina’s estate and inheritance tax laws may differ from those in your previous state. Although currently, North Carolina does not have a state estate or inheritance tax, you should still consult with a financial advisor or attorney to understand any potential tax implications related to your move. Also, if your estate is large enough, it may still be subject to federal estate tax.
  6. Real Estate Considerations: If you’re purchasing a home or other real estate in North Carolina, you’ll want to consider how it’s titled. How the property is titled can significantly affect your estate plan.
  7. Marital Property Laws: North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which could affect how property is divided in the event of a divorce. If you’re married, consider reviewing any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to ensure they’re still valid and reflect your wishes.

Remember that while this list covers a number of the key areas to consider, it’s not exhaustive. It’s always a good idea to consult with one of our Beaufort estate planning attorneys, who can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances and help ensure your plan meets your goals.

What Do We Often See As Differences When Someone Moves To NC?

Although different states have different laws, some of the most common places that we see North Carolina law differing from other states are:

  1. Spousal Elective Share: In North Carolina, a surviving spouse has the right to claim an “elective share” of a deceased spouse’s estate, regardless of what the deceased spouse’s will provides. The percentage of the elective share depends on the length of the marriage.
  2. Probate Process: North Carolina has a fairly streamlined probate process compared to some other states. However, it still involves costs and can be time-consuming, so it’s often beneficial to structure your estate in a way that avoids probate to the extent possible.
  3. Living Wills and Health Care Power of Attorney: North Carolina law has specific requirements for these documents, which are used to dictate your health care wishes if you become incapacitated. It’s important to ensure that your documents meet these requirements.

Schedule A Consultation With Schulz Stephenson Law

If you’re new to North Carolina, congratulations on your big move! This is a time of change and new beginnings, but it’s also a time to ensure your financial future and legacy are well-protected. Having your estate plan reviewed is a crucial step in this transition. There’s no better way to get started than with the peace of mind that your estate is in order, and your wishes will be carried out exactly as you intend.

Reach out today to the team here at Schulz Stephenson Law – we’ll help you make sure your will and other estate planning documents are in line with North Carolina’s laws and regulations. We’ll work with you to understand your personal goals, advise on any potential tax implications, and ensure your estate plan reflects the needs of you and your loved ones.

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