10 Steps to Take After Closing on Your New Home

Congratulations on closing on your new home, and welcome to the exciting journey of homeownership! This is reason to celebrate, but also a time you are intensely busy. On top of work and family obligations, you may be dealing with packing and unpacking, buying and installing furniture and appliances, cleaning and making a few repairs. However, now is the time to prioritize safety, accuracy, and asset protection. This includes making sure there is no unauthorized access, registering with the city, changing over utilities, and avoiding new home buyer scams. Given you just acquired a major asset, it is vital to secure legal documents, update addresses on financial accounts, and to create a plan with a will and power of attorney document to ensure your asset and family members are cared for in the future. Read on to learn our “10 Steps to Take After Closing on Your New Home”! Step 1: Change Locks and Key Codes Changing locks after moving into a new home is critical for safety and security. Previous owners, real estate agents, and contractors, as well as their respective relatives and associates, may still have access into the residence. Don’t risk any unauthorized access (intentional or unintentional). Look for and change any key locks at the front door, back door, basement, windows and sheds. Reset key codes for digital and smart locks, doorbells, and related online accounts. Step 2: Change Addresses on Accounts Updating your address on your personal accounts is essential after relocating to a new home. This ensures that all your mail and packages are accurately delivered to your new location, avoiding lost, stolen, or mishandled mail. Many institutions, like banks and government bodies, require up-to-date address information for important communications or legal purposes. Make sure you do not miss crucial information or notifications, such as bills, renewals, tax information, and identity verifications. Here is a list of key accounts to prioritize changing the address: Step 3: Change Utilities to Your Name Changing utilities to your name after the closing is essential. This is ensures continued access to critical utilities and provides you control over these services. A swift change will help manage any issues effectively and effectively, as well as ensure you have accurate billing and usage information. The primary utilities to change to your name include electricity, gas, water, and sewer services. Life, including work from home and internet, could be interrupted without the change. Depending on your home, you might also have to consider other services such as trash collection, recycling services, pool services, septic services, and lawn care. To change utiliites, ontact each utility company directly, either online, by phone, or by visiting their local office if neessary. Be ready to provide personal identification, the address of the property, and a copy of the new deed. Companies might require additional details such as your move-in date, or meter readings upon moving in. Step 4: Save Key Legal Documents After a real estate closing, a buyer receives several official documents including: Securing … Read more

Ultimate Guide to Probate in New Jersey

Are you putting together a plan for probate in the future or need to file now? Preparation for estate administration is vital for seamless distribution of assets, minimizing disputes among heirs, and compliance with laws. This Ultimate Guide to Probate in New Jersey is your guide through probate and estate administration.This blog will help current and future exectors and adminstrators understand how probate works in New Jersey, as well as the costs and legal requirements. Learn how to avoid probate, types of estate administration, if an attorney is necessary, and how long probate takes. Clarity on estate administration will help you plan for the future and act in the present with confidence and peace of mind. Before diving into the guide, several defintions will help provide context: Need assistance with drafting a will or trust, estate planning, or filing for probate and estate administration? Call us at 201-389-8275 or visit the Contact Us for experienced and specialized attorneys. What is Probate in New Jersey? What is Probate in New Jersey? Probate, at its core, is the legal process that happens after someone dies. It involves identifying and gathering the deceased’s assets, paying off debts or taxes owed by their estate, and distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries. In New Jersey, this process can look a bit different depending on whether there’s a will. The Differences: With vs Without A Will If you’ve left behind a will – known as dying ‘testate’ – probate starts with validating your last testament. The executor named in your will gets appointed by the Surrogate Court of New Jersey and takes charge of handling your affairs. But if you pass away without having drafted a will – called dying ‘intestate’ – things get more complex. Here, state laws decide who administers your estate and inherits what you leave behind; typically it falls to closest relatives like spouses or children first. Different Types of Probate New Jersey has two types of probates: unsupervised and supervised. Supervised probates, where the court oversees every step, are rare but occur when conflicts arise among heirs or beneficiaries about asset distribution or debt payment. In contrast, unsupervised probates tend to be more common for simple estates where no disagreements exist among involved parties. Here, executors have the freedom to administer estates without court interference unless issues crop up down the line. How to Avoid Probate in New Jersey The process of probate can be lengthy, costly, and public. But with the right strategies, you can avoid it altogether. Joint Ownership A common method to bypass probate is through joint ownership. If a property is owned jointly with rights of survivorship or as tenancy by entirety (for married couples), then upon one owner’s death, the property automatically passes on to the surviving owner without going through probate. Beneficiary Designations Certain assets allow for beneficiary designations – these include retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death bank accounts. Upon your passing, these assets will directly transfer to your designated beneficiaries without needing probate … Read more