Gentreo Life Events: How to Update Your Estate Plan When You Buy a Home

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young couple holding baby with first home sign

Buying a new home is a very significant and exciting life event. Whether it is your first home, or if you are selling your old home and moving somewhere new, there are a lot of things that need to be handled throughout the process. Between transporting your belongings, signing paperwork, and handling finances, it is easy to forget about other essential steps to take when buying your new home. One very important step that needs to be taken is updating your estate plan.

A home is often one of the most notable assets that we own, and it may make up most of your estate. If you do not include your home in your estate plan, you lose your right to decide who receives it in the event that you were to pass away. In these cases, assets that aren’t listed in a Will or added to and owned by a Trust are distributed to beneficiaries who are determined by state law, leaving your wishes out of the decision. To further complicate this process, it will be necessary to go through probate court which can be expensive and stressful for your family during grief stricken times. 

Updating your estate plan helps to prepare yourself and your family for the future. According to research by Statista.com, over 6.5 million homes were sold in the United States in 2020, and the homeownership rate was just over 65%. However, according to a 2016 survey conducted by USLegalWills.com, 8.6% of Americans have a Will that isn’t up-to-date. Combined with the 63% who have no Will at all, over 70% of Americans do not have a current and legal Will. 

What this means is, that while the majority of the population owns a home, an even larger majority does not have an up to date Will. This leaves most Americans at risk of losing their say in who receives their home when they die. We know that protecting yourself, your wishes, and your assets is a priority, which is why Gentreo makes creating and updating your estate plan easy and affordable for everyone.

Steps to Update Your Estate Plan When You Buy a Home

Create Your Will

One of the most important documents for you to have during this important life event is your Will. A Will not only protects you and your estate in the event that you were to pass away, but ensures that your family are given the assets and finances that they would need during this time. If you have no legal Will, the laws in most states typically determine the beneficiaries of your estate by default, leaving important assets like your home in the hands of state law. There is no guarantee that your home will be given to the loved ones that you would have chosen, which is why having a Will to specify your wishes is so vital.

Update Your Existing Will

If you already have a Will created but have not added your new home to your estate plan, there is no way to ensure it would be given to the loved ones you would have wanted if you passed away. Instead, your loved ones would need to go through the courts, leaving the decision up to state laws, and leaving your home at risk of falling into the hands of someone you would not have wanted. Estate court costs your family time and money, and can be easily avoided by adding your new home to your Will.

Update Your Trust

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal estate document which allows a third party to handle assets and funds on your behalf. If you have funded a Revocable Living Trust, you may want to add your new home to the Trust so that your loved ones can get immediate access when the terms are met. For example, if you were ever unable to manage your home and needed to be moved to assisted care, and wanted your home’s ownership to be transferred to a loved one when you leave, you can specify that in your Trust.

Inform Your Power of Attorney

A home is a significant commitment, and has a huge impact on your personal finances. Between mortgage payments, utilities, and any services that your home might require, there is a lot to keep track of financially. If something were to happen to you, and you could not handle your finances, you would want to ensure that your Power of Attorney is well informed on what needs to be handled within your home. Keeping your Power of Attorney up to date on what needs to be paid and how you would like it to be managed protects you, your home, and your wishes.

Buying a new home is a huge life event, and with it comes many life changes. At Gentreo, we know that protecting your loved ones and your wishes is a top priority, and want to make sure that you have all the resources needed to ensure that you are prepared for anything. Gentreo makes it easy and affordable to create, update, and store your estate documentation. With the Gentreo Digital Family Vault, everyone knows where to turn in the event of an emergency and instant access is always just a few clicks away. Sign up today!

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