I Just Bought My First Home, Do I Really Need an Estate Planner?


Owning your own home has always been a core part of the American dream. That’s why the purchase of your first home is always a major milestone in your life. But beyond that, it’s also the beginning of some major new responsibilities you may not have considered.

The most obvious responsibilities are that you’ll need to pay a monthly mortgage bill and spend whatever’s necessary to maintain your new home. And that’s not all. You also need to start thinking about what would happen to your home if you became disabled or unexpectedly passed away.

And to plan for unexpected events like that – you need an estate planner. Hiring one is something many first-time homeowners neglect to do, and it’s a mistake that can have dire consequences. Here’s why, and how an estate planner can help you protect both your home and your family from the unexpected.

Why You Should Hire an Estate Planner When You Buy a Home

For most people, their primary home is their biggest and most valuable asset. For that reason, most first-time homeowners have the majority of their money tied up in the purchase of their homes. And as you make payments on your mortgage, you’re building equity in your home that contributes to your overall wealth.

But there’s a catch. First, it’s that you don’t own your home until its mortgage is fully paid. The bank does. And second, if the mortgage is in your name, your home – and the equity in it – won’t automatically transfer to your next of kin if something were to happen to you. And that’s why you need an estate planner. They can map out a strategy for you to protect your home equity and make sure that your family has the rights you want them to have.

Navigating the Probate Process

An estate planner will be familiar with the probate laws in your area and will help map out a plan to protect your assets in the event of your death. In the case of your home, that’s a big deal. In California, for example, any asset worth more than $166,250 won’t automatically pass to your next of kin, and will instead end up in probate court. It’s important to note that the law deals with the value of your assets – not the equity you have in them.

That means if you’ve purchased a million-dollar home, and have $800,000 outstanding on your mortgage, the probate court will still value the home at a million dollars. It doesn’t matter that you only have $200,000 in equity in the home. And that’s what makes California estate planning so critical. A proper estate plan will make sure that your family doesn’t end up in a protracted fight in probate court over your biggest asset.

How an Estate Planner Can Help

There are a few ways that an estate planner might help you. They may advise you to take out an insurance policy worth enough to pay off the mortgage on your home. That way, your family won’t get stuck with payments they may not be able to afford. Then, they’ll advise you to place your home into what’s known as a revocable trust. That will allow you to name a beneficiary who will assume your mortgage almost immediately upon your death. Having one in place will speed up the probate process since there won’t be any questions about the rights to the home.

They’ll also know how to deal with the bank that holds the mortgage on your home. Many lenders try to prevent homeowners from placing their homes into trusts. This is because many mortgages have what’s known as a “due on sale” clause. And although you might not know it, they define any event that terminates your ownership of the home as a sale.

In other words, the death of the mortgage holder would trigger the clause, allowing the bank to demand full repayment of the loan immediately. This would mean that your family has to either come up with the necessary money in a hurry, or they’d need to sell the home under duress. And even if you have an insurance policy to cover the costs of the mortgage, it may not pay out fast enough to satisfy the bank.

Plan Ahead to Avoid any Problems

The bottom line here is that buying your first home gives you plenty of reasons to contact an estate planner. It’s a necessary part of the process that you wouldn’t want to leave to chance. And having a proper plan in place will help give you peace of mind and the knowledge that the biggest investment of your life will end up safely in your family’s hands if something unexpected should happen. And in that way, you can protect your family’s slice of the American dream – no matter what the future brings.


Moving Mayhem: Should I DIY my Move or Hire Pros?


Moving is among the most challenging tasks you will ever have to do, merely because of the number of separate tasks that must be completed. A common decision you’ll need to make is whether to move yourself or hire professionals. Both options have pros and cons, and it is important to look at all your options before making a decision. This guide will help you evaluate which path is best for you.


DIY Move




Save Money

Relocating on your own will cost you only the cost of packing supplies and maybe renting a truck. Relocating containers are another excellent cost-cutting alternative.

You Set the Schedule

When you move yourself, you can set the schedule on your own time. When something pops up that causes a change in your plans, there will be no cancellation costs for changing your relocation date.

You Have Greater Control

If you are in charge of the relocation, you have complete influence over how your belongings are treated, how the moving vehicle is loaded, and when the relocation occurs. You make all the decisions regarding the entire moving process.

You Can Avoid Being a Victim of a Scam

While the majority of moving firms are trustworthy and dependable, others are out to con you your money. Moving oneself reduces the likelihood of this happening.




Great Deal of Hard Work

Moving is hard, which is why so many people employ professional movers. Not only must you carefully pack all of your things in wraps and boxes, but you must also make sure they make it onto and off of the truck without being damaged. If either of your homes have stairs, you’re in for a long day.

Physically Exhausting

Without using the proper form, lifting heavy boxes and furniture can seriously injure your back. Even if you recruit the assistance of some muscular pals, you are still vulnerable to serious injury.

Inadequate Experience

If you aren’t in the moving profession, odds are you don’t recognize how to move heavy objects, safeguard your furniture, or pack or drive a moving truck. Lack of experience puts you in danger of damaging your belongings or injuring yourself.

You Might Take More Days Off Work Than Expected

Moving yourself would almost certainly necessitate more time away from work. You may save money up front by moving yourself, but if this comes at the cost of taking off work, it may no-longer be cost effective.


Hiring Professional Movers




You’ll Have Much More Time to Concentrate on Other Activities

With a moving company loading, transporting, and sometimes even packing your possessions, you will have more time to concentrate on the many other things that need your attention—looking after your kids and pets, setting up utilities in your new home, and updating your postal address.

Less Responsibility

Hiring movers allows you to delegate responsibilities and reduce some of the stress of relocating. That way, they can keep an eye on everything, and you won’t have to worry about the minor (or major) details.

They Handle the Heavy Lifting

Leave the hard lifting to the experts. After all, these professional movers were engaged for a specific reason. They have the skills, tools, and physical ability to move your furniture and belongings safely and efficiently.

They are Experienced and Efficient

Most movers are experts who know how to protect your furniture throughout the move, how to safeguard your home’s walls, floors, and entryways, and how to position your possessions on the moving vehicle in the most effective way to preserve space and avoid a disaster. Hiring movers increases the probability that your relocation will go ahead smoothly.



It Could Be Costly

Hiring professionals can be expensive based on the size and distance of the relocation. A local household’s average relocation expense is about $2,300! What a splurge! Even if you’re only relocating down the block, hiring a mover will set you back quite a bit of money.

Less Flexible

When you hire professional movers, you lose quite a bit of control over your relocation. Life is unpredictable, and if an emergency stops you from relocating the day you scheduled your movers, you might be levied a cancellation fee to compensate for the inconvenience.


You probably don’t know the movers personally. Most people would agree, entrusting your personal belongings and valuables to strangers can be nerve-racking. That is why it is critical to conduct your research, read reviews, and compare ratings before hiring a mover to assist you with the relocation.

The option of whether to relocate yourself or employ experts is particular to your personality, requirements, and the details of your relocation. A DIY relocation will be considerably more challenging if you are relocating long distances or have a large property. In addition, if you have kids and other obligations to attend to, hiring a moving company will make the procedure much smoother and less stressful. Nevertheless, if you are unmarried, on a tight budget, have a tiny house, and have little furniture to move, a do-it-yourself relocation may be a better option for you.

Before making a choice, examine your situation: what’s most vital to you—control, safety, timing, simplicity of use, and price are all essential aspects to consider when determining whether a DIY move or hiring professionals is the right move for you.