As lawyers and clients develop relationships and then either the lawyer or the attorney moves out of state a common question arises – can the relationship continue or must it end at the state border? The question can become even more interesting as, when during COVID 19 disruptions, either or both of them operate remotely. The answer may sometimes depend on what activities are involved and in some cases where either or both of them now consider to be their permanent residence.
Anticipating this question, an organization to which I belong, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) published an article, “Aging Out of Place” by Josh Ard, Esq., in their magazine, NAELA News, Jan/Feb/Mar 2022 and provided examples. You can, of course, alternatively deal with attorneys who are admitted in multiple jurisdictions, although this can become both difficult and costly for the attorney. Also, as our office does, we maintain referral connections with attorneys throughout the country – mostly through NAELA so that, if a client requests answers to how a matter is handled in North Carolina, Florida, New York or California, for example, we have member attorneys to whom we might refer the client and the question while still holding on to the issue as it relates to the jurisdiction where we practice – Pennsylvania.
The introduction to the article focuses on the attorney’s issues, stating:
“As they get closer to retirement, many attorneys would like to move to a different state while still maintaining their practice. One of the challenges is how to do that without violating professional conduct rules.”
(By the way, I have no intent to move to another state or to discontinue practice in Pennsylvania, so for those who are my clients, be assured.)
Finally, clients should know that documents such as Wills and Powers of Attorney, for example, and others prepared in one State (such as Pennsylvania) are still valid when moving to another State. However, it is a good idea to have them reviewed by an attorney in the new State to be sure there are no important differences in taxation and other matters.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.