When it comes to thinking about asset protection for real estate investing, we tend to focus on LLCs, corporations, tax strategies, etc. What can get missed in all of the discussions is estate planning. As a real estate investor, you may be looking to create extra income to put your children through college, yearly fund vacations, and build a better retirement. Whatever our motivations do not lose sight of the fact, you are also creating generational wealth.
Generational wealth can be the foundation for future family members to build upon. Create everlasting income for years to come. In recognizing the potential real estate offers for wealth accumulation, planning the passing of this asset to your beneficiaries is most likely one of the most important decisions you make. A lifetime of hard work is easily dismantled when a real estate investor has no plan or relies upon a will to handle the job. Unfortunately, both solutions lead straight to probate and unnecessary stress and heartache for your family. As a real estate investor, you should—no must—seriously consider a “Real Estate Qualified Estate Plan.”
Why do I need a Real Estate Qualified Estate Plan?
The short answer is you don’t if you do not care what happens to your real estate after your passing. Without a Real Estate Qualified Estate Plan (“REQAP”), your surviving spouse or beneficiaries may experience the following:
Court control over your real estate income
Inability to sell unproductive assets
A child’s divorced spouse seeking to cash in on your passing
Tens of thousands of dollars spent on attorneys as your family is forced to open a new probate in every state where you own real estate
Family feuds over how to divide up the estate
Much, much more…
What is a Real Estate Qualified Estate Plan?
A REQAP is living trust customized to deal with real estate assets. Unique in its creation, the REQAP should be drafted to ensure the preservation of your investments held by you directly or through an IRA or retirement plan. By accounting for the unique nature of the real estate, i.e., management, control, and preservation, the REQAP will identify qualified individuals to handle these investments, ensuring the longevity of the investment. When it comes to providing for your beneficiaries, the REQAP excels in the myriad of customizable options. Real estate income distributions can be tailored to influence positive lifestyle choices and/or providing funding for real estate acquisitions outside of the REQAP.
The most important aspect of the REQAP is the legal savings and immediate protection for a surviving spouse or beneficiaries. The REQAP, when adequately funded while you are living, will avoid probate and preserve the veil of privacy you may have built around your real estate investing.
Ask yourself this question. The assets you are working hard to acquire and build up who will handle and run them in the future? The answer to that question resides in the now, in how you will decide to create and implement your Estate Plan.
By Clint Coons, Think Realty Magazine