Estate Planning: Is an Out-of-State Will Recognized as Valid in North Carolina?

Many Americans will move to a different state during the course of their life. According to data provided by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, approximately 40 percent of people nationwide live in a state different from the one in which they were born. Nearly half of the current residents of North Carolina were born in another state.

This raises an important question: Is a will created in another state valid in North Carolina? The answer is ‘maybe’—a will is might still be valid when you move to North Carolina, though relocation is a good time to review and revise your estate plan. Here, our Monroe estate planning lawyer highlights the key things to know about out-of-state wills in North Carolina.

Out-of-State Wills Are Valid in North Carolina

As a general rule, states are required to recognize official legal documents/proceedings from other states. Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution straightforwardly states that all states should uphold the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state”. You will often hear this referred to simply as the Constitution’s ‘Full Faith and Credit Clause.”

It does not matter where in the United States you live when creating a will. It is still valid in North Carolina as long as it meets the state’s basic requirements to form a will. Under NC General Statutes § 31-1, “any person of sound mind, and 18 years of age or over, may make a will”. There are also requirements for a will that it be signed, notarized, and witnessed, depending on the circumstances of the will be made. So, depending on how your will is drafted and whether you were a competent adult, it may be valid in North Carolina.

A Move to a New State is a Great Time to Review and Revise Your Estate Plan

You may not need to re-write your will when you move to North Carolina. Your will—and other key estate planning documents—may remain legally valid. At the same time, a relocation to a new state is a major life event. It is a big change and it is generally a best practice to review your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney after you move. Make sure that the plan that you created is still the best option for protecting yourself and your family and for achieving your goals and that it complies with North Carolina laws. Other major life changes that may require the review and possible revision of an estate plan include:

● A marriage or a divorce;

● The birth of a child or a grandchild;

● Significant changes in health status;

● Significant changes in assets or debt; and

● A change in who you wish your beneficiaries to be.

Call Our Monroe, NC Estate Planning Attorneys for Help With Your Case

At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our North Carolina estate planning lawyers are experienced, reliable advocates for people and families. If you have any specific questions about out-of-state-wills or estate planning revisions, we are here to help. Contact our law firm now for a confidential consultation. We provide estate planning representation throughout all of Union County, including in Monroe, Indian Trail, Unionville, Stallings, Waxhaw, Weddington, Lake Park, and Marshville.