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Estate Planning- Its a fact of life. (Part 3 of 3)

This is the last edition in my personal take on Estate Planning: Estate real estate and other assets.

Estate real estate and other assets

When you pass away as a home or property owner then there are certain things that might happen, depending on where you live. Each province can be different.

If you have a Will (I hope you do!) then the real estate might be:

a) retained by your spouse (hopefully they are on the title)

b) given to your children/beneficiary/beneficiaries to be kept or sold.

If you don’t have a Will (or a surviving spouse) and its not clear who are the children or beneficiaries, then likely a court will have to decide. I am not a lawyer but I know that without a Will things can get messy and expensive. Each case has its issues.

Now, from my personal experience it takes awhile for you to be able to deal with a deceased persons assets. Wills often have to be probated, so items like a home, car(s), cottages etc.. may have to sit vacant/unused for extended periods of time ie: months.

When that is the case I suggest:

1. Turn off the water and have the home winterized professionally. Leaks cause big money damage to vacant properties.

2. Switch the home insurance to vacant insurance but check how often the home must be visited (daily, every 2 days etc..). Insurance companies differ on their requirements. Note: I ran into one that said if its vacant then they won’t cover it, it had to be occupied. I asked about what happens when you go on vacation? They said that’s different… so after some negotiation the insurance company changed its tune.

3. If no one lives in the area, hire a company to check on the property as required by the insurance policy. (In one case I paid, as the Executor, a RE/MAX agent a monthly fee to provide that service for me in another province.) Have them provide a written report on their visits in case the insurance company asks.

3. Store the vehicles in a garage and have them serviced properly.

4. When it comes time to sell the home or condo, hire a real estate agent. Especially if you live outside that area and/or did not live in the home, because you need to do several extra things and they will help you navigate the issues. They should provide you with Comparative Market Value report on how much the home might sell for too.  Also, they will give you advice on home staging, repairs etc…

These are just a few items to think about. Please consult a lawyer for any legal aspects of Estate Planning.

Please feel free to add a comment or suggestion.

All the best,

Ben

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