A Legal Checklist for Moving to Another State
Careful Planning is Not Only About the Boxes.
is one of life’s activities that requires a tremendous amount of
planning followed by the effort of implementation. Besides
organizing the on-the-ground logistics of packing, traveling, and
unpacking, you should also pay careful attention to a number of
administrative and legal issues. This article presents a checklist
for issues to consider pre-move, immediately post-move, and after you
have settled in.
In your new location, you will have a new primary care doctor, and, if
you have children, you will enroll them in a new school. To ease
these transitions, you should obtain copies of all relevant medical and
school records before you move. It will likely be far easier to
obtain these records while you are still in the location you are moving
from than to comply with any administrative requirements from a
distance. Do not forget to obtain veterinary records for any pets
that are moving with you.
You should submit a mail forwarding order far enough in advance so that
it will become effective at the time of your move. Be aware that
if you are moving to a recently constructed home, the U.S. Postal
Service may not yet recognize its address for an on-line address change,
and you may have to submit your address change on a paper form.
It is especially important to submit your address change so that you
continue to receive bills from your creditors to avoid late or missed
payments. For government agencies, such as the Social Security
Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, you should notify them
directly of your address change because all, or most, government-issued
mail does not forward under the standard postal service forwarding
- Obtain Copies of Official Records
Immediately Post Move
These two changes are most likely time limited after your move with the
consequence of having to pay a higher fee if you complete these
activities past the deadline. For the driver license, you should
be sure to apply for a federally qualified license, which in North
Carolina is called a “REAL ID.” Without a REAL ID, beginning in
2020, you will not be able to use your driver license to board a
domestic airline flight or access federal buildings with identification
requirements. The requirements for REAL ID are online. You may make an appointment for this process that will eliminate or reduce your waiting time.
You will need to update your voter registration in your new
jurisdiction. You may do this simultaneously with applying for a
new driver license. If an election is imminent, there will be a
deadline by which you must register in order to be eligible to vote.
Some local jurisdictions have pet licensing requirements. You
will need to provide proof of rabies vaccination and pay the appropriate
- Change Your Car Registration and Obtain a New Driver License
After You Have Settled In
Updating your estate documents after you move is very important to make
sure all of your documents will be recognized in your new
jurisdiction. For example, some banks will not recognize a power
of attorney from another state. Also, in North Carolina, Health
Care Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives for a Natural Death have
very specific witness and attestation requirements to be valid, and not
all other states have similar requirements. It is possible that
medical professionals may not acknowledge and act on these documents
from another state.
While you are updating your documents, you can also take
the opportunity to review your overall estate plan and make any changes
you want. You will want to pay particular attention to, and work
with your chosen attorney on, the advisability of moving the
administrative location of any trusts, any advantage to keeping multiple
powers of attorney to be operative in different states, and the need to
change the ownership or titling of any assets, especially real estate
you may still own in another state.
If you are the owner of a business entity such as a corporation or
limited liability company, you should explore whether it is necessary to
domesticate the entity from your old state to your new state.
There are various approaches to this action such as starting a whole new
entity in your new state and merging the current entity, converting the
current entity to a new entity in the new state, or obtaining a
Certificate of Authority to operate the current entity in the new
state. Your selected attorney will be able to advise you on the
best approach depending on your business activity and your goals.
- Domesticate Any Business Entities
For the year you move, you will most likely have to file state tax
returns in both your origin state and your destination state. A
tax professional will be able to assist you with filing and payment
requirements, and your eligibility for any refunds. Be aware that
if you keep any activity, such as a business or trust, with its
administrative home in your old state, you are likely to have tax filing
responsibilities in both the old and new states every year.
- Plan Ahead for Tax Filing
If you are undertaking a move across state lines, keep all
of these items in mind to help your efforts go more smoothly.
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