3 tips for every new homeowner
Davidson Estate Law
Jun 11, 2018
Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! Whether this is your first home or an upgrade/downsize, the purchasing of a home is a big event in your life. When these major life changes occur, it is important that you are properly prepared. Below are a few things for you to consider now that you finally have the keys to your new home!
- Update Your Address
Now that you are in your new home, it is very important that you update your address with the appropriate entities. Your local United States Postal Office will have a form you can fill out. If you cannot make it into the post office, you can also update this information on their website. This will assist them in forwarding your mail to you.
To ensure that you don’t miss any important tax notices or refunds, you will also want to update this information with the Internal Revenue Service, using Form 8822, and your local state tax agency.
- Make Sure Your House Title Coordinates With Your Estate Plan and Complies with California’s Community Property Law
While it is still fresh in your mind, reference your new deed to see how the property is titled. Then, you will want to reference your estate planning documents to make sure that your property has been titled properly to achieve your estate planning goals. .
For example, if your previous plan had a specific provision distributing your old property, you will want to make sure that you update this provision since you no longer own the previous property. On the other hand, if this is your first home and your estate plan includes a trust to avoid probate, you will need to make sure that your home was titled in the name of the trust and not in your name individually.
For jointly owned property, keep in mind that the form of ownership you have on your deed (Joint Tenants, Tenants in Common, Community Property, etc.) can have huge legal and financial implications if not done correctly. For example, if a community property asset is not titled correctly, you will not be able to take advantage of the 100% step up in cost basis when the first spouse dies. This could then leave your spouse and/or heirs with a large capital gains tax bill should they sell the property after your passing.
- Check Your Life Insurance Coverage and Beneficiary Designations
Unless you were fortunate enough to pay cash for your new home, chances are you now have a large monthly mortgage expense. In order to protect your loved ones, it is important that you check your life insurance coverage. Should you die before paying off the mortgage, it is a good idea that you have enough life insurance to meet that obligation should you have a surviving spouse or children that will likely continue to reside in the home. Even if they choose to not remain in the home, the life insurance can provide valuable assets during what is usually an emotionally difficult time.
This is also a great opportunity to double check your beneficiary designations. Life changes happen so quickly that sometimes this can be overlooked. If your designations do not match up with the rest of your estate plan, you may end up inadvertently disinheriting a family member or having the money fall directly into the hands of an individual without any guidance.
Lastly, now that you have a home and homeowner’s insurance, call your insurance agent to make sure that you are getting all of the discounts that you are entitled to. Many insurance companies will offer discounts when you bundle services. If you already have car insurance through a carrier and use the same company for your homeowner’s insurance, you may be entitled to a better rate that if you had both policies separately. In addition, homeowners often get discounts that renters don’t.
We’re Here to Help
Buying a new home is a big step and we are here to help. Give Davidson Estate Law a call at 510-527-6774 and we can help make sure that your new purchase and estate planning are working together to carry out your goals.
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Oakland, CA 94612
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Oakland, CA 94612
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