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Any lawyers? I need help. Do trusts transcend state lines?

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We moved from CA to VA and our lawyer in CA -- who uses as few words as possible -- told us simply, "contact a VA lawyer" when I asked him how to have our trust become legal in VA.


We paid thousands to have a draft drawn up in CA (3 or 5? I forget). Our main priority is that our twin seven year olds go to the stated caretaker and that our life insurance money go with them.


Main objective: keep the boys safe from my very aggressive, very well off crazy parents.


A VA lawyer seems more then willing to work with us, but I'm also coming across info. that says trusts cross state lines.


Again, ours is only in draft form from our CA lawyer. It's just a signature away from being filed as final.


What should we do?




Alley ps. this is my only priority for the next few weeks. I can't sleep at night worrying that it's not in final.

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Can you go back to California and sign it? A valid trust crosses state lines, but until its signed the trust isn't valid. If the trust is signed in Virginia, I think it has to comply with Va law to be valid. It wouldn't hurt to consult with the attorney who drew up your papers to find out if there are any major discrepancies between the laws in Va and CA.


Christine W

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My family-law lawyer mom always did our wills, etc (actually in VA, she's retired). . . and even then, she'd always advise us to go to a local lawyer (UT, GA, WV. . .) whenever we moved to get it updated & refiled locally. I don't know exactly why, but I guess it just makes it tighter legally to have it filed in your state of residence.


I am sure that already having your (expensive!) draft will make it cheaper to have it updated & filed in VA. It's always a good idea to have a local lawyer anyway, so just find one, get it reviewed, signed & filed in VA. $$ well spent in your shoes, esp. since it is keeping you up at night.

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You don't need the trust for life insurance, do you? Can't you just put them in as beneficiaries, with an appropriate guardian for the funds also designated? Or are you talking about an ILIT? (It doesn't sound like you are.)


This sounds very, very tricky. I wonder whether signing it in CA would even be valid if you don't reside there.


I suspect that it will be difficult to get a definitive answer to this, and since you are expecting difficulties with your family, it's doubly important to get everything taken care of exactly right, airtight. I think that if it were me I would chalk up the CA work as a lost cause and do everything over, legally, in Virginia. I hate to say this, but for me, it would be the only way that I would really be certain that things would work out the way I wanted.

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