Our wills were drawn up by an attorney in North Carolina. We now reside in South Carolina. Do we have to re-do our wills?

I hear this question often. The answer is a typical lawyer answer. It depends. It does not depend upon whether or not the wills are legal. Generally speaking, a will legally drafted in any state in the United States, is valid in every other state.

The real question is whether or not the will is useful. For example, is the will a self-proving will or not? A self-proving will is a will that is accepted before the court without the witnesses testifying about what happened when the testator (signer of the will) signed the document. When the witnesses signed before the notary public, all the important questions were answered and the will can be entered into probate without the witnesses.

If a will is not self proving, when the signer dies the signer’s lawyer and family have to find the witnesses. In our ever moving society it is very difficult to find witnesses even after a short period of time has passed. Sometimes the lawyers have to find the witnesses when no one can read their signatures. What do we do then?

I recommend that you see an attorney in South Carolina to make certain the wills you signed are valid and useful.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The law may vary depending on the state in which you reside. It is intended only to give some direction in which to seek assistance.

Circular 230 Disclosure: Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, I am now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.