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Camden Delaware Real Estate Law Blog

Understanding vital documents in real estate transactions

First-time homebuyers encounter many new and unfamiliar elements. Countless documents are placed in front of them, and people hand them pens and tell them where to sign. Blindly signing documents for such a monumental purchase can leave a Delaware homebuyer in a tough situation, having agreed to items that he or she doesn't realize are in the documents. With a general understanding of the documents included in most real estate transactions and by taking the time to carefully review each page, a buyer may avoid making a terrible mistake.

The first document a house hunter may encounter is the sales contract. This is a legal agreement between the buyer and seller addressing how they will handle the sale of the property and any contingencies that may occur. It usually has a breakdown of all the closing costs and who will be responsible for each. Such contracts also include details about the good-faith deposit the buyer puts down, where that money will be kept and what happens to it if the deal falls through.

The legalities of being a residential real estate landlord

Perhaps you are moving and want to keep your former house and rent it out. Maybe you found a good deal on a house here in Delaware and decided to buy it and rent it. Whatever your circumstances may be, there are several legalities that you should be aware of as a residential real estate landlord.

After you get the house ready, do you just put a sign up in the yard and an ad in the paper and online? Without having some sort of standard lease agreement and process for choosing applicants, that could be a mistake. Having "have a good feeling" about someone may not be enough to ensure that you will receive your rental payments on time and not end up with a damaged rental property.

How can I protect myself when selling my home?

If you are planning to sell your Delaware home, you know that there are many things you need to do to prepare for the process ahead. There is much more involved with selling a home than simply putting a for sale sign in the front yard. You would be wise to take the steps necessary to ensure the full protection of your interests. This can help you avoid problems with the selling process as well as help you avoid legal complications in the future. 

Part of selling residential property is to disclose certain information about the property to prospective buyers. In fact, disclosures are your legal obligation as the party selling the property. As you consider what disclosures you may have to make, it can be useful to seek help and guidance regarding this matter.

Delaying estate planning could be costly for family members

How often do Delaware residents hear that they should "get their affairs in order" before it is too late? Even so, a large percentage of the population of the state -- and the country for that matter -- delays engaging in any estate planning. The reasons for this are numerous and vary from individual to individual, but failing to have some sort of estate plan in place often ends the same way -- with surviving family members potentially losing out on an inheritance because they end up spending valuable assets from the estate going through the courts.

Admittedly, it is not pleasant for most Delaware residents to contemplate their own death, but the desire to take care of family members thereafter requires it. Other people consider estate planning something that rich people do, and that they do not need it because they do not have significant wealth. For people with multiple children or blended families, the hesitation may come from trying to find a way to please everyone involved.

Careful estate planning is needed for special needs children

Many special needs children become special needs adults. For the Delaware parents of such an adult, planning for his or her physical and financial security is a priority. That planning needs to extend beyond the lives of the parents, which means that estate planning also becomes a top priority.

When it comes to ensuring that a special needs adult is taken care of when the parents are no longer able to do so through incapacitation or death, arrangements need to be made for someone else to fulfill that role. The person or people meant to take on this task need to be chosen carefully. Are they trustworthy? Are they willing to serve in this capacity? Does the child trust and know the chosen individual or individuals?

Seeking guardianship through elder law

When creating an estate plan, there are many factors to consider beyond how to divide one's assets after death. In fact, with proper elder law guidance, an estate plan can be a valuable resource in many stages of life. One example is by establishing a power of attorney against the possibility that the testator should become incapacitated by age or illness. However, few people in Delaware take advantage of this tool, which may require loved ones to seek legal guardianship.

By law, an adult must petition the court to obtain authority for the financial and medical decisions of a parent who is no longer able to care for him or herself. If all family members agree to the guardianship, the matter may be resolved quickly, but when people disagree, the matter can get complicated, expensive and emotionally draining. When more than one person files for guardianship, the court will weigh the qualifications of both and make a ruling.

Elder law addresses personal needs of nursing home residents

While multi-generation households may have been the norm in the past, they are less common these days. Aging parents prefer to stay in their own homes, and adult children often need two incomes to support their families. Just a few years ago, a decline in health may have meant an older parent ended up in a cheerless nursing home, with little room for personal belongings and less concern about a resident's preferences. However, by revisiting elder law reforms, some Delaware nursing homes are striving to bring about positive changes.

More aging adults want to live in their own homes as long as they are able. This is where in-home care is a helpful alternative. However, some physical and mental conditions preclude this option, even making it impossible for adult children or other loved ones to provide adequate care. For those people, a nursing home may be a more appropriate choice.

You get to decide what happens to your business in the future

As a Delaware small business owner, you know how difficult it can be simply to run your business, keep up with your financial obligations and stay profitable. As much work and thought as you put into the initial stages of your business, you would be wise to do the same at the end of your business operations. Business succession planning is important for every entrepreneur, no matter the size or type of business you have. 

When you start a business, you must draft a business plan and choose an entity. When it is time to close up shop or after you can no longer run it, you must decide whether you will sell or close and how that process will happen. By having this plan in place, you can ensure that there will not be unnecessary disputes over your small business after your passing.

Estate planning for an uncertain future

More than a fear of dying, many Delaware residents fear that they will reach a point in their lives when they will not be able to make sound decisions for themselves. They may wonder what will happen if an injury or illness causes them to be incapacitated. Fortunately, estate planning can help prepare for an uncertain future.

Having a plan in place could provide everyone, the Delaware resident and his or her family, peace of mind. After spending a lifetime preparing for retirement and saving money for a rainy day, all of it could be gone due to making shaky financial decisions due to being the victim of fraud, abuse or any number of conditions that can affect aging residents. In order to combat these potential issues, certain estate planning documents can be executed.

Is an HOA part of your residential real estate transaction?

Many of Delaware's communities have homeowners associations. If you are involved in a residential real estate transaction, you may want to know if your community has an HOA, along with what it will mean for you. Many people simply pay their dues and never really understand the basic terminology associated with them, which outlines their structure and governance.

HOAs fall under the state's non-profit corporation statutes here in Delaware. Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the state, and a deed for the common areas of the communities they govern must be recorded in the appropriate county records. The covenants, conditions and restrictions, often referred to as the CC&Rs, must also be recorded in those same records.

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