Trust yourself, trust your home

February 22nd, 2011

Every newspaper has a section where, if you are in it, you will not be able to read your name and the story. It is the obituary section. Reading the obituaries on a regular basis you will note that not everyone who passes away in your community is elderly, nor are all deaths predictable due to prolonged illness or disease. You may be using mortgage calculators to help plan the purchase of your new home, or to refinance your current mortgage, but what if…

Mortgage calculators are the first step

You have used the prequalification calculator to determine the loan amount for which you qualify, and the closing costs calculator has confirmed you have enough money saved for your down payment and closing costs to purchase your new home. Or perhaps you have used the refinance calculator and discovered you can save a lot of money with a refinance mortgage and today’s low mortgage rates.

With the financing questions answered a very important question remains, how will you take title? If you are married or have a partner will you be joint tenants, tenants in common or community property? Why does this matter? Read the obituary page and ask yourself, “how many of these people own a home?”

What if…

What if your name is in the obituary pages and you own a home? Is your family protected? Will your home be tied up by probate courts as your heirs, be they a spouse, children or siblings, spend money on attorneys and taxes? Do you or your spouse or partner have children from a previous relationship?

Accidents happen, and because they do thousands of homes every year are suddenly without an owner, heirs are left dealing with the devastation of a family member passing away and then have to contend with attorneys, probate courts and tax collectors. With simple planning you can spare your family and heirs a lot of heartache and frustration.

Planning your estate just as important as planning your home purchase

You have spent a lot of time planning on how to purchase your home using the mortgage calculators, or have planned how to save money with your mortgage refinance. Take the time and budget the funds to plan your estate.

Meet with a qualified attorney who can assist you and your family by creating an estate plan that includes a trust and a plan should an accident put you, or your partner, in the newspaper. If you are refinancing your existing mortgage take advantage of having access to a title company and settlement agent to record a deed transferring your property into your properly planned and executed family trust. If you are purchasing a new home have your trust established and ready to receive the title to your new home.

The obituary pages across the country are filled with homeowners who have failed to execute an estate plan and place their home into their family trust, or perhaps thought they protected their assets and heirs but have a poorly written trust they tried to do themselves that is not valid.

One thing is certain

Death is a subject few like to think about or plan for, but if you own a home and have a family proper planning protects your asset and your family. If you wonder if now is the time for you to establish your family trust just open the obituary page, someday all of us will be there. For your family’s sake be prepared when it is your time to be in the papers.

Using the mortgage calculators to plan your new home loan or mortgage refinance, take the next step and plan your estate.

One final note, “estate” is a legal term, just because you do not own or are not planning on buying a twelve bedroom, twelve thousand square foot estate does not mean you do not have an “estate.” If you own property and/or assets, you have an estate that is subject to inheritance laws and taxes. Nothing herein is to be taken as legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney regarding your specific situation.

Posted By :
Dennis C. Smith is co-owner and broker of record for Stratis Financial in southern California. He has over twenty years' experience in the mortgage industry.

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