What State's Will Should I Use if I Don't Have a Residence?
A will is typically drafted to comply with the laws of the person's state of residence, as the laws of the state of residence at the time of a person's death will apply. Another state's laws may apply if real property is owned in that state. A person can only have principal place of residence. Some factors used to determine a primary residence include:
Your place of employment.
The location of your family members' main home.
Your mailing address for bills and correspondence.
The address listed on your:
Federal and state tax returns,
Car registration, and
Voter registration card.
The location of the banks you use.
The location of recreational clubs and religious organizations of which you are a member.
It is possible to prepare a generic will that will be enforceable in many cases, but it is recommended to update your will to the state of residence when a person settles on a main home state due to particular requirements in each state. It may be preferable to create a will in the current state of residence, as another state will often enforce the will of a sister state as long as it doesn't contradict the laws of the home state. Sometimes it is advisable to have multiple wills if a person has assets in different jurisdictions. Due to the complexities of the various laws and tax implications involved, it is recommended to consult a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.
Generally, a jurisdiction will recognize a will made in another jurisdiction as long as it complies with the requirements of the local jurisdiction. However, it may not be assumed that this will always apply. Alternatively, an international will could be used. Under the International Wills Convention, a certain type of will may be drafted that would be recognized internationally with certain formalities common to all jurisdictions which had adopted the Convention.
Please see the section for Multiple Wills in the following article:
The examples of what qualifies as a "main home" are listed on the IRS website below: