Estate Planning and Your Home: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
Many of the issues I see in estate planning and in probate matters have real estate in the mix!
Interestingly, this month’s podcast guest, Greg George, mentioned that inheriting a home (real estate) would be more difficult than inheriting a sum of money. For various reasons, he's right!
A home is usually one of the larger assets people have, and it holds a special place in a person’s life for the people and memories it has played a part in.
So, when thinking about planning for your home and what you may want to do, you need to think about your specific situation, the people in your life, the goals you have and what could make things so much easier for yourself and those you are planning for.
Let’s take a look at ten things to think about when planning into the future for your home and those that may be affected by what you do with the home.
The People in the Home
1. Who will be living in the home for the foreseeable future?
2. Are there individuals who are dependent upon the home, as a place to reside (especially for free!), that you want to consider in planning for the future?
3. Will you want to stay in your home for as long as possible or do you want to sell the home, for whatever reason?
4. Do you want another individual to have full access to the home, without any difficulties, in the event you do not live in the home or upon your passing?
The Bills and Important Documents
5. If you are planning to stay in the home for as long as possible, what arrangements make sense for someone else to step in and pay the bills and maintain and manage the property, if you need some help?
6. If there is a mortgage or other lien on the home, how will this impact your planning?
7. Do you have information and important documents gathered, such as the tax bills, mortgage statements, the search and survey and are these documents in a known-safe place for another person to access in a time of need?
8. Would you expect others to be able to pay for the real estate taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance and upkeep, homeowner’s insurance and utilities in the event you do not live in the home or upon your passing?
Your Possessions and Memories
9. Are there items in the home that you would want others to have, in the event you do not live in the home or upon your passing?
10. Would you want your home, if possible, put into a trust for a person called a “trustee” to manage either during your life or upon your passing? If not, what other plans do you have? Imagine how these plans may play out, during your life and upon your passing?
In my opinion, purposeful and well-thought-out planning makes a huge difference in how smoothly and easily the estate planning and estate administration processes go. If you're just starting the estate planning process, and real estate is involved, be sure to talk with your team about your plans. When you're ready to start formalizing your plans, reach out.
Are you ready to create or revise your estate plan?
Are you faced with administering an estate with real estate, and want some help?