Last month we focused on the legal considerations for moving your company to Texas. This month our focus is on your personal checklist – legal issues affecting you personally that will need your attention this year.
But first, a quick note about immigration. Together with his kind comments about our last Moving to Texas? article, my good friend and erstwhile immigration attorney Rick Gump urged me to remind both the company management and their employees to ensure that, when moving to Texas, legacy employees are treated as new employees for I-9 verification purposes. He advises that it is important to clean up the company files and take care of company employees by cleaning up their files as they might become subject to an I-9 audit.
After you settle in to your new Texas home and while you are unpacking, it’s time to make your own personal checklists. You might start with these.
Without elaborating on the specific deadlines, just know that, after moving to Texas, you should:
- Annual Vehicle Inspections– Find a certified Vehicle Inspection Station and bring your proof of insurance.
- Auto Insurance– Meet bare minimum of Texas coverage requirements – $25,000 property damage and $60,000 personal injury protection.
- Register Your Vehicle– Within 30 days of moving to Texas, register your vehicle with the county tax assessor-collector. Don’t forget to take proof of insurance and proof of ownership – either the title or prior state registration. After your initial registration, you should be able to renew online. Expect to pay three fees – a registration fee, sales tax fee and title application fee.
- License Plates– At your vehicle registration you’ll be issued two identical license plates, one for the front of your car and one for the back. They’re good for seven years. Personalized plates are available and are a different fee.
- Drivers License– Your new driver’s license must be requested at the local Texas Department of Public Safety office within 90 days of your move. Take your proof of identity – a passport, unexpired military ID card or U. S. Citizen Identification Card.
You’ll want to register to vote at VoteTexas.gov and complete the registration at least thirty days prior to any upcoming election – before election day approaches. You can also register to vote with the Texas Department of Public Safety Department of Motor Vehicles or your local Voter Registrar’s office. If so, you’ll need proof of identity, for example one of the following: your Texas Drivers license, a US military ID with photo, a US Passport or US citizenship certificate with photo.
Wills & Estates
While Texas and California are both community property states, there are some differences worthy of note. Additionally, it is our understanding that many California residents have Living Trusts – not Wills – to avoid the probate of their estate in California. While your Estate Planning documents certainly need to be reviewed to consider the changes caused by your move, of equal importance is the impact upon your Estate of continued ownership of California real property assets.
Texas Concealed Handgun License
Now that you’re a Texan, while you are not required to own a gun, many Texans do – and many have a concealed handgun license. Many states have reciprocity agreements providing that Texas and the other state recognize the other’s concealed handgun license. California is not among them. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry previously issued a proclamation allowing those with California concealed handgun licenses to legally carry in Texas. The unilateral proclamation requires California license holders to follow Texas law while carrying in Texas. You can change your address online. By the way, the United State Concealed Handgun Association has identified just two states with statutes prohibiting carrying a concealed firearm while wearing a mask: California and Illinois (although Illinois sheriffs and county prosecutors indicate that carrying a gun while wearing a mask to protect others from COVID-19 is not illegal unless a crime is being committed).
Have you updated your insurance lately? Life, health, home and casualty.
Safe Deposit Box
Have you inventoried/ updated safety deposit documents lately?
Personal Move List
To be reminded of a host of easily forgotten items, such as mail forwarding, changes of address, insurance, medical records, health care providers and the like, check out, this article gives you a pretty good start on a personal items checklist to be addressed in a move.
Personal Contracts – Leases, Vendors and More
Legal jurisdiction is now in Texas, not your departing state; it makes sense for your documents to choose Texas law. Texas law treats at least some contract provisions differently. Moreover, depending upon the claim and the attentiveness paid to your contracts and relationships, you may still find yourself defending a lawsuit in your “old state.”
Change Your Address with the Government
The IRS requires that you complete Form 8822-Change of Address (Part II) and designate if only changing mailing address or also changing notifications for other tax matters.
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor
In pulling together some of this information, I stumbled upon an article by Amelia Josephson that was published a couple of years ago. Here are some of my favorites:
- We have a strong record in job creation. Texas is generally a good state for job growth – the state grew by 345 residents per day between 2005 and 2013.
- Get ready for heat. Texas is hot and getting hotter – temperatures in the high 90s in August in much of the state.
- The energy sector is king. Shell and other energy sector giants are some of the biggest employers in Texas. Yet, the Texas economy is becoming more and more diversified.
- Taxes are a mixed bag. Texas is generally considered a great state for those who hate paying taxes. There’s no state income tax and the state sales tax isn’t steep. The state’s property taxes are some of the country’s highest.
- Guns are a fact of life. In Texas, concealed weapons are all around you and many households own more than one gun.
- We are steeped in history. In Texas’ Dinosaur Valley State Park you can literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs that once roamed Texas. The state boasts a long history. By the time European settlers arrived in Texas, Native tribes including the Caddo, Apache and Comanche had been living on the land for roughly 11,000 years. Then there’s the Spanish and Mexican history of Texas, the Alamo and the famous fight for independence. If you love history, you’ll love living in Texas.
- We are changing. Texas is booming, drawing tens of thousands of new residents from abroad and from other U.S. states. The state’s Hispanic population is growing rapidly, and before long the state will return to its earlier roots as a mostly Hispanic state. Demographers predict the state will be three-fifths Hispanic by 2050.
- Barbecue is a big deal – but vegetarians shouldn’t despair. Yes, barbecue is huge here. If you eat beef, get ready for brisket sandwiches that will blow your mind. But vegetarians don’t need to despair. It’s never been easier to find meat-free options in the Lone Star State. You still might get some flack for skipping meat but it’s more common than it used to be.
- It’s a great state for live music – and not just in Austin. Austin is famous for its live music scene, but it’s not the only Texas city with a thriving live music scene. In fact, live music is a part of the state’s culture, whether it’s blues, country, Tejano, bluegrass, hip hop or anything else you can think of. Famous Texas musicians include Beyoncé, Selena, Scott Joplin and Miranda Lambert.
- Shiner Bock is big, but it’s not the only Texas beer worth knowing about. Shiner Bock is Texas’ biggest and, it’s fair to say, most popular brewery. But as you might expect from such a large state, there are plenty of craft breweries, too. Most of them are concentrated in Austin but you should be able to find Texas craft beer in many other parts of the state.
- Texas is full of characters. Texas seems to breed famous larger-than-life characters in politics and the arts, and you might see some characters in your neighborhood or your local supermarket after moving to Texas. If you’re used to, say, the more muted styles of the Northeast or the laid-back vibe of the Northwest you might be surprised by what Texas has in store.
- It’s a great place to get out in nature. There are enough state and national parks to keep outdoor enthusiasts happy in Texas. Hiking, camping and boating are all popular activities in the state, but there are other attractions, too, like the ancient pictographs at the Hueco Tanks State Historic Site and the rare sea turtles of Padre Island National Seashore.
- Our homes are affordable. One of the reasons that the state has been able to attract so many new residents is that homes in the Lone Star State are relatively affordable. That’s what happens when you have so much empty space to build on.
- We are huggers. Texans are known for their warm and friendly demeanor. If you’re not into hugging, backslapping and y’all-ing you might have a tough time getting used to Texas life. Recent transplants might come across as standoffish to longtime residents of the Lone Star State, but we’re guessing it won’t take you too long to break the ice.
- Don’t mess with Texas. “Don’t mess with Texas” isn’t just a brilliant piece of marketing and the slogan of a successful anti-littering campaign. It’s a good general rule. Texans tend to be proud of their state and may get prickly if they hear it criticized. If you’re moving to Texas, it might be wise to stick to the positive when you’re talking to longtime Texans.
The Bottom Line
WELCOME! I hope that you find our great Lone Star State to be everything that you hoped … perhaps, with the possible exception of the weather.