“A friend is a person who loans you their truck so you can move.  A true friend is a person with a truck who HELPS you move.”

Reflecting on my law career, I realize I’ve never held a law job where the first day did not involve moving furniture.  Every time, it came as a sweaty surprise, and I was usually ill-prepared for it.  One time I even split my suit pants crouching down to pick up a desk.  Moving itself is rarely, if ever, fun.  The destination or the goal of the move is usually what motivates us.  Downsizing, upsizing, retiring, escaping, new job, new family, new school – so many reasons to make it through the move.  

My office is moving this fall.  We are only moving ten yards – same building on Beach & Warner, same floor, from suite 101 to suite 150 – but it’s still a lot of work.  At least this time, I won’t wear a suit the day we move. 

Moving is often connected with a real estate transaction.  The moving person is either buying, selling, or refinancing some real estate.  Here in California, people who own property need to create a trust to avoid the time and expense of probate.  However, if the real estate title is not properly coordinated with that trust, some or all of the benefit of the estate plan can be lost!  We strongly recommend our clients call us right away when they refinance or purchase property so we can examine the real estate transaction In light of their estate plan.

Moving to another state – as many Californians are choosing to do – can also greatly impact an estate plan.  Each state has different estate planning rules.  Some are very similar to California’s and some are very different.  Thanks to the US Constitution, estate planning documents (including trusts) that are created and signed in California ARE valid in all other states; however, it is always a good idea to have those California documents reviewed when you settle permanently in another state.  The issue is that the California documents may have to be administered in that new state under the rules of California law, so it is often wise to restate the documents in the new jurisdiction.  

The same principle applies for people choosing to move to California.  Everyone who does so should have their estate plan reviewed!  Many states don’t have the same large cost involved with passing real estate through a court probate, so many newcomers to California with only a will (no trust) have no idea the time, expense and headache even a simple probate action here can be.  For those of you who are new, let me say, Welcome!  And then say, if you have minor children, any real estate, or other assets that exceed $186,000 – you need to come talk about an estate plan with a trust!

Finally, moving assumes change.  All of us are moving into the future each day.  As you move to meet the future, you will see other changes in your situation and circumstance.  When those changes happen, remember your estate plan and your relationship with your estate planning attorney should be designed to accommodate those changes.  In my office, we don’t always know what has changed in our clients’ circumstances until they tell us.  Your successor trustees may have died, moved away, or aged out of the role.  Your beneficiaries may have grown in maturity so they can receive an inheritance right away.  Periodic review of your estate plan helps identify when changes like these have occurred that could make an update necessary. 

Don’t let the passage of time and all the moves that happen therein get ahead of you!   Although we are moving one suite over, our office is still right here to help you move into the future – wherever that takes you.