Is My Will Still Valid If I Move to Another State?

March 30, 2012

Among all the changes you must make when you move to a new state — driver’s license, voter registration — don’t forget your will. While your will should still be valid in the new state, there may be differences in the new state’s laws that may make certain provisions of the will invalid. In addition, moving is a good excuse to consult an attorney to make sure your estate plan in general is up to date.

Property laws can vary from state to state. It is especially important to have your estate plan reviewed if you move from a common law state to a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Louisiana, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, and Alaska) or vice versa. In a common law state each spouse’s property is owned individually, while in a community property state, property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. In addition, states may have different rules about when co-owned property may pass to the surviving owner and when it may pass under the will.

Other things to consider are whether there is any language you can add to the will to make it easier to probate in the new state and whether your executor still makes sense based on your new location. Other pieces of your estate plan may need updating as well. For example, the state may have different rules for powers of attorney or health care directives.

For more information on estate planning, click here.

To discuss elder law issues with an attorney, please call the Elder Law Center at 630-844-0065 or contact us via email. The Elder Law Center is located in Aurora, IL, Kane County, in the Chicago Western Suburbs.

How to Select an In-Home Aide

March 10, 2012

Studies show that older Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible – even when they are struggling. For growing numbers of elders – and concerned family members – the solution to their struggle is a home aide.

If your family is considering hiring an aide, the first decision is what type of aide you need.  There are two basic choices: a home health aide or a home care aide.   Home health care aides provide personal care (bathing, grooming, etc.); assist with range-of-motion exercises and provide some medically-related care (empty colostomy bags, dress dry wounds, check blood pressure, etc.); and provide assistance with housekeeping and errands.  They are often referred to as personal care assistants.  Home care aides provide companionship and socialization and assist with meal preparation, housecleaning, laundry, shopping and errands.  They are also called homemaker or chore aides.

“The level of care the person requires determines who should be providing the home care and what it will cost,” says Mary Hujer, MSN, a gerontological clinical nurse specialist in Cleveland, Ohio.

Getting Started

Before beginning the search for an aide, download the National Caregiver Library’s Needs Assessment Checklist.  Not only will it help you determine the level of care a loved one needs, it will also help you write the aide’s job description.  In addition, it may inform the decision of whether to hire independently or through an agency. 

With an agency, the aide has been screened and trained, and they will be supervised, explains Byron Cordes, LCSW, a certified care manager and the current president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.   But, Cordes adds, there are other benefits of hiring through an agency: “Clients have access to all the resources the agency has.  They have back-up if the scheduled caregiver can’t be there and the agency handles all the administrative responsibilities – reimbursement forms, payroll, taxes, workers’ compensation, insurance, and background checks and bonding of the employee.”

Hiring independently means you will be doing the screening and interviewing, supervision, coordination of care and all administrative paperwork.  But, says Hujer, it also means you are able to hire someone – a friend or relative—who may already know the person, “so the trust factor is higher…and you will usually be paying less, too.”  (For more on making this choice, click here.)

To locate potential candidates, “cast a wide net,” says Hujer.  Get suggestions from the older person’s primary care physician or nurse; the local hospital’s social work department; local social service and/or disease-specific organizations; your community’s office on aging or senior center; the older person’s minister or rabbi; and/or friends and neighbors who have previously used a home aide.

See also: 12 Interview Questions to Ask an In-Home Aide

Additional resources

Web sites


To discuss elder law issues with an attorney, please call the Elder Law Center at 630-844-0065 or contact us via email. The Elder Law Center is located in Aurora, IL, Kane County, in the Chicago Western Suburbs.