Are Wills legally binding from state-to-state?

So if a person has Will regisistered in one state but dies in another, does it have to be probated or is it universally enforceable with only one living heir?

Asked on March 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, District of Columbia


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

There are several questions within your question.  Wills are almost always binding from state to state.  There are a few exceptions but they are rare.

When you say the will is "registered," I don't know what you mean.  Do you mean it was filed with a probate court in another state?  If so, the original will can be transferred from the court in one state to the court in another state.

To be "enforced," a will has to be "probated."  This means the will has to be "admitted to probate" in a court and then administered under court supervision.  This is so whether there is one or many heirs.  The will must be admitted to probate where the testator (deceased person) was living when she or he died.  If this is where the will is "registered," great.  If not, you will have to petition for an estate and get an order to transfer the will.

You need a lawyer to assist with this.  It is not something you can do yourself.

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