Linda D. Dempsey's Blog
Most people do not think of creating an estate plan before they are in their 40s or even their 50s. However, if you own a home, regardless of the cost of the home and regardless of your age, you should create an estate plan. Even if you are in your 20s, your family could end up losing a high-end home if you are in an accident and become incapacitated or you lose your life. Always contact an experienced estate attorney for help drafting your will and other estate documents, including trusts.
Titling Your Home
In today’s day and age, many people decide to live together without formally getting married. Most closing agents will title your home so that you own one half and your significant other owns one half. In most states, your significant other’s half of the house will have to go through probate unless the house is appropriately deeded. The ways you may title your home include:
Joint Tenancy: Gives you equal rights to the property. If one party passes, the ownership of that person’s half passes to the surviving tenants. However, if you are not married, you will have an extra step to take if you want to transfer your half to someone not listed on the deed.
Tenancy in Common: This is the most common way deeds are titled if two people buying a house are not married. Both parties have equal rights to the property. However, if one person passes, their half goes to their heirs and not to the other person on the deed unless that person is an heir. Each person can take out a mortgage on their half without getting permission from the others on the deed. This type of title usually has to go through probate.
Tenants by the Entirety: Only those legally married may title their home as tenants by the entirety. The house is automatically transferred to the living spouse. The property does not have to go through probate if it is titled as tenants by the entirety.
You may title your home in other ways, though those ways are not as common. Creating a will and a trust, along with titling your home properly, ensures that your half goes to the person you want it to go to, and, if done correctly, could save your spouse or significant other the hassle of going through probate.
Creating a Trust
Many types of trusts exist. When you choose the right type of trust for your situation, you may be able to avoid probate and avoid some taxes when your home transfers on your death. However, the main reason for a trust is so that your loved one may continue living in the home or taking care of the financial responsibility of your home should you become incapacitated. Certain trusts also keep your home and its equity from being eaten up by creditors such as nursing homes and doctors. Always consult an attorney to discuss the complexities of creating a trust and the rest of your estate plan.
The presence of natural light inside of your living space can have a tremendous impact on how you feel in your home. If you're interested in introducing more daylight into your space consider installing a skylight or light tube.
What are skylights?
A traditional skylight is a window set into the roof of your home. They bring light into the room from above. Many skylights are fixed but others open up to allow fresh air and ventilation. Higher-end options may include options like preinstalled blinds, tinted glass, power openers, and screens. Because they are installed from the roof, skylights are a great solution for bringing natural light into a finished attic space or a central stairway that might not have walls that connect with the exterior of the house.
What is a light tube?
Sometimes, you can’t install a traditional skylight. When your home has a large attic, the skylight must recess through the attic to the room to let the light shine into the room. Since this doesn’t always work, an alternative is to install a light tube. These are shafts that pass from a domed glass in the roof into a room below the attic. The tube may have mirrors that reflect daylight down into the room even if the exit is not directly overhead. An advantage of a light-tube style skylight is that the exit location does not have to be directly above the room at all. It may even exit from a sidewall.
The tube bends or reflects the light, so there are diverse architectural applications. You might install one in a shower, to light up a dark niche or even in a closet. Light tubes typically include LED lights, so they are useful both day and night.
If the light tube or skylight is installed correctly, it retains and enhances the home's energy efficiency, and complements the home's design features. If you're planning to install a skylight in a home you intend to sell, discuss the advantages with your local real estate professional to determine the return on your investment.
187 Ruthellen RD, Bellingham, MA 02019
If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You don’t want to buy a house to find out that you can’t afford it after all.
Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs aren’t as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop.
Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that you’ll incur buying a home. These include:
- Application fees
- Attorney fees
- Title insurance
- Recording fees
No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but it’s good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.
Maintaining Your Home
While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:
These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.
Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where you’re planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.
Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:
- Air conditioning
Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.
You’re required to have homeowner’s insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you don’t take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, it’s a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time.
This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. It’s easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts.
If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. You’ll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeowner’s insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.