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Estate Planning Essentials Should Also Include Home Planning

If you search for “estate planning essentials” online, you will find a lot of consensus advice that is mostly on the mark for Indianapolis seniors and retirees. For example, you might be advised to draft a will, to establish a living trust, assign a power of attorney and set up an advance healthcare directive. You might find recommendations to check your insurance levels, too, or update your beneficiaries and make sure all paperwork is in good order. Good advice overall, but I think there is an important item missing from these estate planning essentials: your home.

Your Home as an Estate Asset

Most people who have been in their home for many years have built up equity. Irrespective of specific financial arrangements, this can make your home a solid estate asset. But for many seniors and empty nesters who want to be able to tap into that equity, the asset is more valuable as a means to an active retirement. That’s where a reverse mortgage can come into play as I discuss in this article. When appropriate, you could, for instance, use your home equity to travel or pay off other debts to improve your financial position.

You might also choose to downsize from a home that was necessarily large for raising a family, but now seems too big for your active empty nester lifestyle. Downsizing also can often result in freeing up money to add to your estate. You can work with your Realtor (you’ll think of me for that service, won’t you?) and your estate planner to consider all financial factors when downsizing and reallocating funds from your equity.

Planning Your Home for Retirement Living and Aging in Place

Of course, when you decide to move into a home more suitable to your retirement lifestyle, it also pays to plan your home for activities and aging in place. Using the principles of universal design, you can design or choose a home that accommodates your current and future senior accessibility needs. Learn more about universal design here.

The bottom line is this: your home is an asset and can and should factor into your estate planning. You should also consider how it factors into your living needs as you enjoy home-based retirement. For more information about choosing the best Indianapolis-area home for active retirement living, contact me at 317-442-4797. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, or SRES®, I can help you understand your alternatives and choose the right place to live!

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