Phil and his wife Marie began married life like many couples do – in a small apartment fit for two. As the years went by, the young couple’s dreams grew with their incomes. On their 5-year wedding anniversary, Phil broached the subject of buying their first home. Marie’s initial reaction was excitement. Sure, having more space, a yard, and equity in a property of their own would be great. But the conversation quickly turned to what life would be like as homeowners. What about the bigger bills that come with homeownership? And what about providing for the future, especially when they had children?
Excitement turned to angst because, like most young couples, Phil and Marie simply didn’t have enough information about estate planning to make informed decisions. Following a few sleepless nights and lots of coffee-fueled conversation, they decided that talking with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney would be of immense help. After asking a few friends for recommendations, they selected an attorney they could trust.
What they couldn’t have known was that this conversation would change the course of their lives.
“Why Do We Need an Estate Plan Anyway?”
Phil’s first question to their attorney was a common one – “Why does buying a home mean we need an estate plan?”
The attorney explained that the best time to solve estate planning issues is before problems occur. Estate planning is a complex matter, even for average income individuals. Many different types of issues are brought to bear in developing a comprehensive estate plan. For example, if one of the goals was to leave the property to one or more heirs, a well thought-out estate plan could prevent in-fighting. If Phil and Marie had children and wanted to leave the property to them, what would happen if one child wanted to keep the home and another wanted to sell?
After some discussion about numerous potential issues relevant to Phil and Marie’s current circumstances and future plans, they could clearly see how a good estate plan might fairly and equitably distribute their property. They also learned that they had options. The estate could be divided to leave the home to one child, while leaving property of equivalent value to another. Or, one child could buy out the other’s share.
Phil and Marie were equally relieved to hear about the tax benefits of home ownership, reverse mortgage options to help with the costs of long-term care if needed, and options for combining long-term-care policies with trust-based estate solutions.
As the couple left their attorney’s office, the smiles on their faces said it all – they could move forward with buying the home of their dreams, confident in their newfound understanding of estate planning and delighted to have the support of an experienced attorney who cared about their future.
If you are considering buying a new home and need estate planning help in Missouri, attorney Brian Quinn can assist you.