Each state has its own requirements for Living Wills. Many states recognize an out-of-state Living Will as long as the document complies with the laws of the state where it was signed or the state’s own laws. In several states, out-of-state documents will only be valid to the extent they are consistent with the laws of the new state. Some states do not address this topic. However, even if your health care document, such as a Living Will, does not strictly comply with the laws of a particular state, it is quite possible that a physician or other health care provider in that state will still consider the document as important information about your wishes.

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If you move to a new state, it is recommended that you complete a new Living Will for the new state. Even if your prior document might be valid in the new state, you can avoid potential problems by completing a new document that uses the terminology and phrases that may be preferred by that state. Remember that new documents will generally supersede old ones — in other words, executing a new Living Will has the effect of revoking a prior Living Will. If you live in two states (for example, if you live in the south in the winter and the north in the summer) it is recommended that you obtain specific information about both states, perhaps by consulting with an estate planning attorney. As a general rule, you should avoid having one document for one state and another document for the other state. Two different forms could confuse your physician, and it is unlikely that the documents would be identical. Another possible problem is that the document that you signed most recently might have the effect of revoking the earlier one. The particular statutes of the two states involved will help determine which state's document is best for you, or if your situation is such that two documents might be appropriate.

Create your Living Will with Rocket Lawyer. If you have questions regarding whether your Living Will is valid in a given state, contact an estate planning attorney, if you're interested in learning more about estate planning, visit our Estate Planning Guide.

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