Estate planning might not be the first topic to come to mind after the purchase of your first home. After all, you are young, healthy, and have just spent your life’s saving on your new home. Why would you need to spend more money on attorneys and wills at such an exciting and prime age? However, the purchase of your first home means that you now have a major asset in your estate. What happens if you die without an estate plan? The house that you worked so hard to purchase will end up in probate where a court appointed representative of your estate will use their best judgement to decide who among your family members will get the home. Not only your home, but the representative will disperse your other assets such as bank accounts, life insurance, and personal property. In addition, probate costs and fees will be incurred, which can end up taking a substantial amount of the money from your estate. If this process concerns you as you ponder who might end up getting what is in your estate, it should. Young individuals, understandably, wouldn’t consider putting their estate together until they are decades older. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and deaths can always occur. This is why creating your estate plan is so important after adding a large asset, such as a house, to your estate.

The purchase of your first house means a lot of planning for the future. What if you were to suddenly die and leave behind a spouse or other family members? Would they be able to cover the cost of the mortgage and other debts on their own? This is why you should take out a life insurance policy large enough to cover the cost of your mortgage, medical bills, funeral costs, etc. This is helpful to your family after your death and might mean that they won’t have to sell the house due to financial hardship. [1] An estate plan can also help eliminate conflict that could arise between children and other family members. Specifically laying out who you want to receive certain assets, means probate won’t have to guess who you might have wanted to receive them. It is often helpful to discuss asset distribution with potential heirs ahead of time to help eliminate any surprises or arguments. Even if it seems like your family is on board with your decisions, it may surprise you how often matters like this go through lengthy disputes in court or ruin family relationships. Couples often ask how to leave the house to one child yet make sure the other children receive something of equal value. One way to accomplish this is to create a trust. Trusts allow you to distribute your assets in a variety of different ways.  You can instruct that your children receive equal parts of your estate and at the same time name a child to inherit your house. Sometimes couples don’t have enough assets equal to the value of the home. In this case, some people have an insurance policy paid to the trust to even out the values between heirs. [2]

Again, estate planning might seem necessary or feasible for individuals and couples who have just purchased their first home. However, this purchase is precisely the reason why it is so important to create an estate plan to protect your home as well as other assets. No matter what your situation is, be it a family with children or a single individual, the addition of any large asset to your estate should be a trigger for you to start planning your estate. If you have any intentions of passing your house and other assets on to family members or children in the event of your death, this is the only way to ensure that they inherit what you intended them to.

[1] Lewis, Tristan. “Do You Need A Will When Buying A House?”. Howells Legal, 2018,

[2] “Estate Planning Dos And Don’ts When You Buy A New Home”. Living Trust Law Firm, 2018,