BRIEF SURVEY OF WESTERN STATES’ LAWS RELEVANT TO CALIFORNIA ESTATE PLANNERS
By Ronald P. Wargo, Esq.*
It is sometimes necessary for California estate planning practitioners to address matters arising in other states. Sometimes a client has moved from another state, is moving to another state, or owns property in another state. Because of geographic proximity, multi-jurisdictional issues frequently involve the laws of four Western states, in particular, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. This article will provide a brief survey of the laws in each of these four states.
It is, of course, prudent for any California estate planning practitioner to consult with local counsel in any other state where the California lawyer is not admitted. In fact, it is a violation of the California Rules of Professional Conduct for a California lawyer to practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so would be in violation of the regulations governing lawyers in that jurisdiction.1 In the view of this author, advice of a local lawyer is likely required under the ethics rules of other states to avoid unlawfully practicing law in such states.
This article cannot possibly do more than highlight some of the differences each of these four states have with California. The author will assume that the reader has a good understanding of California laws pertinent to estate planning and will only focus on the key issues from each of the other Western states. A helpful summary chart is included at the end of the article.