Checklist for an Interstate Move
A Legal Moment

A Legal Checklist for Moving to Another State

   Careful Planning is Not Only About the Boxes.

   Moving 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.
  • Obtain Copies of Official Records
   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.
  • Change Your Address
   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 order.
Immediately Post Move
  • Change Your Car Registration and Obtain a New Driver License
   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.
  • Register to Vote
   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.
  • Get a Pet License
   Some local jurisdictions have pet licensing requirements.  You will need to provide proof of rabies vaccination and pay the appropriate fee.
After You Have Settled In
  • Update Estate Documents
   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.
  • Domesticate Any Business Entities
   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.
  • Plan Ahead for Tax Filing
   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.
   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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Greg Gregory is an attorney and shareholder at Marshall, Roth & Gregory, PC. Greg's practice encompasses all forms of business and real estate transactions.
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   You may not rely on this content as legal advice for any specific situation, but should instead contact an attorney for specific advice
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