4 Tips for Every New Homeowner

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’s important you are properly prepared going forward. Below are a few things for you to consider now that you finally have the keys to your new home! 

  1. Update Your Address

Now that you are officially in your new home, it’s 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. Don’t forget to update your information with important entities such as banks, credit cards companies, and your local DMV.

  1. Verify Your House Title Matches Up with Your Estate Plan!!

While it is still fresh in your mind, refer to your new deed to see exactly how the property is titled.  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 estate plan had a specific provision distributing your old property, you will want to make sure that you update this provision since you likely 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 is titled in the name of the trust and not in your name individually (in most cases).

  1. 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’s important you verify the extent of 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 financial 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 an emotionally difficult time.

This is also a great opportunity to double check your beneficiary designations. Life changes often happen quickly and sometimes this necessary step 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.

  1. Maximize Your Insurance Discounts

Now that you have a home and homeowner’s insurance, call your insurance agent to make sure you’re getting all 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 than if you had both policies separately. In addition, homeowners often get discounts that renters do not.

We’re Here to Help

Buying a new home is a big step, and our attorneys and staff at BVTLAW are here to help throughout the entire process.  Give us a call if you have questions so we can help make sure your new purchase and estate plan are working together to accomplish your goals.