People travel now more often — and more easily — than they ever have in human history. It used to be that most people lived and died with miles of where they were born. Even within American history, traveling across the country was seen as a one-way trip that meant the person left their old life behind forever. 

That’s not true anymore. People travel all the time for work and pleasure. Someone could be born in California, move to New York to go to school, land a job in Canada, and then come back to California to start their own company 10 years later. This would have been preposterous not that long ago, but it happens often now. 

This does raise a lot of legal questions when considering where documents are drafted and signed. Take an advance directive, for instance. You want to list out all of the medical treatments you do and do not want to inform doctors in California about the type of care you should receive. But what if you get seriously injured in a car accident while traveling through Canada for work? Or what if you have a second home in Washington and you spend a lot of time there? Will your advance directive hold up?

This is an important question to ask. While most countries and all 50 American states do recognize advance directives, the way that they are created and implemented can vary. If you are going to be crossing any of these borders with frequency, make sure you are well aware of your rights and what steps you need to take to ensure that your estate planning remains valid everywhere.