15th Jan 2014
The main reason most people undertake estate planning is to have an orderly and seamless transfer of assets and property to their designated beneficiaries when they die. You can achieve this with a validly executed will or living trust, but keep in mind that having a will might give you some problems if you own properties outside California.
Owning assets in several different state is tricky because the laws vary, and as a living trust attorney in Orange County, I know this firsthand. Other states have variations in their laws that may pose a problem to your heirs when your heirs claim their inheritance. For example, a power of attorney in California is valid when a notarized signature is present. In some states, however, the power of attorney needs to have two witnesses to be considered a valid document. (Some states require more witnesses.) In such cases, you will have to prepare a power of attorney document that conforms to the laws of all other states where you own properties.
You may want to come out with a “one size fits all” document. This means that your estate planning attorney would research the laws in other states and compose a document that will satisfy all laws necessary to create a valid power of attorney.
As a living trust attorney from Orange County, I suggest other options like executing a revocable living trust. The advantage of this estate planning document is that it is recognized as valid in all states. With a living trust, you do not have to use a power of attorney when the title of the property is transferred from your name to the trust.
So, if you own properties in states other than California, you have two courses of action to consider while planning your estate: you can prepare special powers of attorney that adhere to the laws of several states, or you can execute a revocable living trust.
Contact Tompkins Law for more information.