Wealth preservation is one of the most important components of any real estate plan. Passing your wealth to future generations requires that you safeguard them for the time being and for as long as you are still alive. For people who are growing wealthier, though, lawsuits seem to be inevitable.
Fortunately, there are now ways to protect your wealth. Below are some of them.
Wealth transfer is a process wherein you remove your name from your assets and transfer them to legally protected vehicles. Having a trust fund is one way to do this. Trustees can keep hold of your assets and keep them for you until the right time comes for them to transfer them legally to your heirs.
Trust funds have several variations, but they are categorized into two basic types: living trusts and testamentary.
Living trusts or Inter Vivos are basically set up when you are still alive. In this process, you transfer your assets to a living trustee who will provide legal protection to all your assets for as long as you live. You can choose to have your trust revocable or irrevocable. In a revocable trust, you have the option to cancel or amend it as you wish.
You also still have control over the trust while you are still alive. When you die, everything that you have spelled out in the document will be done. All your assets will be transferred to your chosen heir. Most of the time, assets that are transferred through trusts cannot be subjected to probate.
In an irrevocable trust, you lose control over all the assets even when you are still alive. However, the trustee will still disperse the assets and distribute them to your chosen beneficiaries when you die.
A testamentary trust is created only when you pass away. This type of trust is funded by insurance or by the financial assets you have when you were still alive. Basically, the insurance or financial assets’ proceeds are transferred into the trust upon your death based on your instructions in the legally binding trust document.
Trusts need to conform with state and federal laws, so you will need to talk with an attorney specializing in asset planning to use this type of wealth protection.
Retitling some of your assets is also a good strategy. This prevents your properties from being seized in case you suddenly face a legal dispute. Asset retitling might not be done on all your properties, but you can use it to protect some of your tangible assets, such as a rental property or home. Retitling removes your name in the public records as the owner of those properties.
For married couples, retitling asset ownership into tenants-by-the-entirety with a spouse ensures that the living spouse will automatically become the sole owner of the property when the other spouse has passed away.
Create a Will
Writing a last will and testament that spells out how you want your assets to be distributed after you die is one of the most inexpensive ways to protect your wealth. This legally binding document allows you to distribute your wealth to your intended parties in any way you want to.
Having a will drafted by an estate-planning attorney and making it legally binding can largely reduce the stress that your family might feel when you pass away, as they will no longer have to decide how to allocate portions of your wealth when you die.
Unlike trusts, though, a will and testament can be subject to probate. Talk with an attorney if you want to go this route to protect your wealth.
Having your assets insured is one aspect of good estate planning. It can help increase your wealth and can be used to fund a trust. Some insurance types can also protect you and your properties from legal challenges that can arise at any time. Insurance is vital in every aspect of your life. It can be your first line of defense if you ever run against any legal challenges of any sort.
Estate planning is complex. It is something that no one can do by himself. It requires an attorney specializing in real estate and many other related legalities. It also requires the help of other professionals, such as a financial planner, insurance agent, and a certified public accountant. These professionals can help you plan your assets well and protect your wealth for the next generation.