My niece recently moved out of state, from Ohio to Michigan, and while it is only about two hours from her old home, it is still a new state none-the-less. I assisted her with some financial tasks, and it made me realize that you can easily forget to take care of important items when moving to a different state.
Besides the main task of changing your address at the post office (you can complete this on-line at www.usps.com), I’ve listed some items you should make sure to complete when moving to a new state. Some of these items may also apply when relocating within the same state of residence:
Update your driver’s license, voter’s registration and vehicle registration: You should go to a local secretary of state office or check with their website, as these updates may be able to be completed on-line. Updating your driver’s license and voter’s registration legally shows that you have changed your primary, legal residence.
Since state insurance laws vary, you should also contact your automobile insurance carrier to update your address. This will allow the insurance company to update your vehicle coverage for the new state.
It is important to take care of this task as soon as possible (1) to make sure you have proper coverage in a new state so there are no liability issues if you are in an accident; and (2) to ensure you have no income tax issues when filing your partial year income tax returns. States can be sticklers when losing income, so you want to make sure you can show proof of your residency change if necessary.
Review your banks accounts: In today’s world of modern technology, on-line banking has become very popular. With direct deposit and on-line bill pay, you really don’t need to go into a branch anymore. If your bank does not have a local branch, but you don’t want to change banks, you should still check their ATM features and what charges you may incur. If you decide not to change banks, just make sure to update your address with the bank and also order new paper checks.
If you like having a local bank or credit union branch nearby, you may have to change banks. If so, open the new account first and get any auto payments and direct deposits set up before your close your old bank account. If you still use paper checks, you’ll have to get new checks as well. Once everything has been set up and starts to post to the new account properly and all outstanding payments have been cleared from the old account, it should then be safe to close the old account.
New Email Address: Depending on what site your email address is through, you may have to get a new email address. My niece’s primary email address is through Gmail, so she was ok. Mine is through my cable provider, so if I changed my cable provider, I would have to update my email address.
If you change your email address, make sure you update it with all of your financial institutions, credit card companiesand any business or persons who send you regular emails as soon as possible.
401k and 529 plans: If you’ve moved out of state, due to a job change, make sure you don’t forget about your 401(k) plan at your old job. You can roll it to an IRA or possibly to your new employer’s workplace plan.
If you have a 529 plan set up for your kids’ college education, you probably are using your state’s 529 plan to get a state income tax deduction. If so, you’ll want to look at your new state’s plan. If it is a decent plan and offers a state income tax deduction for new contributions, you’ll want to open a new account. If you don’t want to have more than one 529 plan you can transfer the old plan.
Moving Expenses: If you moved due to a new job, depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for a moving expense deduction on your income tax return. Save your receipts for moving yourself, your family and your belongings. When tax time rolls around, make sure to discuss this with your tax professional.
This just highlights some of the important tasks you need to take care of when moving. It’s a good idea to start a checklist, so you don’t forget anything. Taking care of these items in a prudent manner now will save headaches down the road!