Moving To California Or Out Of California

People who have moved from another state to California often come to my office with a will or a trust written under the laws of another state. They want to know if they need a new will or trust now that they live in California. I generally advise people to write a new will or trust under California law if they plan to stay in California. Why?

The answer is related to a complex area of the law called “conflicts of law.” This means that a court has to figure out what to do if the law of the will or trust–let’s say Oregon–conflicts in some way with the law of California, where the person now lives. You want to avoid this problem if possible.

I say the same thing to people who have wills or trusts written under California law and are planning to move out of state. They should probably get a new will or trust written under the laws of the state where they intend to live.