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Why a move to a new state may invalidate your will

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | Estate Planning

If you recently moved to Arizona, then you may assume the will that you drafted in your previous state is also valid here. That’s not necessarily the case, though. There’s a high probability that the same types of wills and their provisions aren’t valid in both jurisdictions. You’ll want to review your will to ensure that it complies with Arizona law if you want your final wishes to stand in the end. 

What types of wills are valid in Arizona?

Arizona doesn’t recognize nuncupative or oral wills. The state is unique in that they do recognize holographic or handwritten ones, though. Arizona Revised Statutes 14-2501, et seq. also spells out how testators must be 18-years-old to draft a will. It also references how two witnesses must be present at the original signing of the legal document and place their signature on it within a reasonable time of its drafting.

Why the will you drafted in one state may not be valid in another

There are many reasons why you may need to update your will when you relocate to a new jurisdiction. 

Not only may each state have different laws that dictate whether certain will types, including nuncupative or holographic ones, are legal, but each jurisdiction may also have different rules that dictate when a testator can author one of these. The requirements that witnesses must meet to be eligible to sign a testator’s will may also vary by jurisdiction. 

Other reasons that a probate judge may not uphold your final wishes

Most states require testators to appoint the executor of their estate when they draft their will. Each state may also have its own rules regarding who can assume that role, however. You shouldn’t assume that just because your previous state’s laws allowed your personal representative to be a relative or an out-of-state resident, that your new one will.

Judges may also wonder if your will — drafted long ago in another state — reflects your true wishes. That could lend weight to any claims that your will should be voided.

What you should do if you recently relocated to Arizona

If there’s one thing that should resonate loud and clear, it’s that very few states have the same laws on the books. A wills attorney in Glendale can review your legal document to ensure that it complies with Arizona law so that your final wishes stand in the end.