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When You Move to Idaho do You Need to Update Your Estate Plan?

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

One of the great things about living in the United States in the modern age is the ability to move to wherever you would like. Because of this, a number of people have found Idaho and have moved here from other states. We love the diversity this brings to the Gem state.

However, moving does raise many issues that need to be considered. This usually includes such things as a change in jobs, new schools for the kids, finding new doctors, and other healthcare and dental providers, meeting your transportation needs, and dealing with changes in weather. It also sometimes means either moving away from or closer to family members or friends.

There is also a special consideration that arises when it comes to estate planning. The main question is, when you move to Idaho, do you need to update your estate plan as well? The purpose of this article is to discuss this particular question and help you understand whether you should consider changing or updating your own personal estate plan. Please keep in mind that this article is just a summary. While it is a good place to start, it may not provide you with all the answers that you need to make a decision about whether you need to update your estate plan.

The good news is, we offer a free 30-minute consultation to review your current estate plan and help you determine whether a change is needed. If you decide that you do need to update your estate plan we also provide you with a free Estate Planning Questionnaire that helps you pull together all the information you need to update or change your estate plan so it meets all your current needs.

Idaho Law Adopting Your Current Estate Plan

In order for a last will and testament to be valid, it has to follow all the formal requirements set forth in Idaho’s statutes. These are specifically found at Idaho Code §§ 15-2-502 and 503 and include descriptions of both a regular self-proving will and a holographic will. However, Idaho statutes also declare that an out of state last will and testament will be valid in Idaho “if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed, or of the law of the place where at the time of execution or at the time of death the testator is domiciled, has a place of abode or is a national.”

In other words, these statutes say that if your Will was valid in the state where you used to live and you moved to Idaho, Idaho will also consider it to be valid here. This is true even if it doesn’t comply with the formal requirements set forth in the statutes above. While this is good news, it doesn’t necessarily answer the question of whether your estate plan still does what you need it to do and whether your estate plan needs to be updated. We will explore these two questions below.

Does Your Estate Plan Still Do What You Need?

Even if you have a valid Will from another state you still need to ask yourself whether your estate plan does what you need it to do. In other words, are the people that you listed, that you are asking to do some specific act for you, still capable of doing it now that you live in Idaho?

As mentioned above, sometimes when people move to Idaho, they are either moving closer to or further away from their family members. They may also have friends that are either closer or further away because of the move.

Family members and close friends are usually the people that are chosen to act as a personal representative when a person passes away. They are also usually chosen to act as the power of attorney for property and finances, or for medical and healthcare. They could also be chosen to act as guardians for minor age children or as trustees of a variety of trusts that may be part of the estate plan.

Each of these appointments are unique. Some work best if the person lives close to where you live while for other appointments it really isn’t that critical where the person lives in relationship to you. Each of these should be discussed and determined based on their own merits given your own personal circumstances.

Does Your Estate Plan Need to Be Updated?

Additionally, many times the last will and testament, or a trust, or other estate planning documents will refer to the law of the state where they were created. In other words, if a person used to live in California and they have these estate planning documents, these documents usually say they will be enforced in compliance with California laws. This is great while the person lives in California but really isn’t that helpful or great after they move to Idaho.

Because of this and other specific considerations it’s important to review your estate planning documents and determine whether they need to be updated so that they don’t inadvertently follow a different state’s laws. In other words, if you’re living in Idaho, then you should have Idaho law apply to your estate planning.

The good news is Idaho laws are very favorable to those who create their estate planning here. They’re also very simple and easy to understand. Finally, I found that many states laws are far more complicated than Idaho is when it comes to estate planning. Because of this, when a person moves to Idaho, they can often simplify their estate planning a great deal by updating their documents in accordance with applicable Idaho law.

If you recently moved to Idaho and you are concerned about whether your estate plan will do what you still needed to do or whether it needs to be updated, we can help. We have assisted numerous clients who have moved to Idaho with updating and revising their estate plans and making sure that they will meet all of our clients’ current needs. We are confident that we can help you too! Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.


Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho estate planning problems.

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