Question 1: Can I use a will I made in another state?
Usually. Even though every state has laws that require wills to have specific elements, states will recognize a will made in another state as long as the will complies with the laws of the original state. For example, if you made a will in Arkansas and moved to Colorado, the Arkansas will can be used in Colorado as long as it complied with the laws of the state of Arkansas when you made it.
Question 2: What about my witnesses?
That’s a different story. One of the problems with using an out-of-state will is locating and getting the witnesses to show up in the new state’s probate court to prove that the will was properly signed. However, you can usually avoid this by creating what is known as a “self-proving” will. These kinds of wills are accompanied by affidavits signed by the witnesses who signed the will, allowing a probate court to accept the will without having to call the witnesses to testify.
Question 3: What if I made a handwritten will?
That’s also different story. All states allow you to make a printed will, but only a minority of them allow you to make a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will. If you made a holographic will in a state that allows them and move to another state, it may not be possible for the new state to allow the holographic will. In this situation it’s best to create a new will that complies with the laws of your new state. Regardless, you should always have your will reviewed by a local estate planning attorney if you move to a new state.
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