Whether you’re an investor with a sizeable portfolio or one you consider modest, you’ve reached a point where you’ve begun to contemplate what to do with the wealth you’ve acquired. To secure your legacy for the next generation—or even for your favorite charity—you need direction for how you’ll protect the work that you’ve done through estate planning strategies.
Without protection, your accumulated assets are not only at risk of falling into the hands of the court (explicitly designed not to have the interests of any one person in mind) or into the mouths of wolves in the form of lawsuits and creditors. Even if a claim brought against your estate is untrue, it’s a costly affair to have to fight off malefactors—and that ultimately means less of your legacy is going where you want it to go.
To shelter your assets, here are three estate planning strategies to begin plotting a course to long-term financial security for both you and your beneficiaries.
Legal Note: This article is not legal counsel. When determining what to do with your estate, consult with an attorney (or see point 2).
1. Evaluate Your Net Worth by Inventorying Assets
Having this rough figure will be useful for a variety of reasons, particularly when you have to determine what you might owe (if anything) in estate taxes. Keep in mind that for these purposes, you should inventory both tangible and intangible assets to calculate this tally.
Your tangible assets may include:
- Real estate you hold in your portfolio, including land
- Vehicles such as cars or boats (including pricy superyachts)
- Collectible pieces, such as coins, art, or other antiques
- Any other tangible physical possessions.
As far as intangible assets go, you also have to consider:
- Your checkings and savings accounts
- Life insurance policies you hold
- Retirement plans like a 401K
- Stocks, bonds, and any mutual funds.
Once you’ve documented these and crunched some numbers, that will allow you to determine whether any of your assets will fall under the federal estate tax. Some investors are sheltered from costly state estate taxes in Oklahoma, as well as any inheritance tax.
However, depending on the scope of your assets, you may still fall under the long shadow of the federal estate tax. If your combined figure falls beyond $11,580,000, get ready to file. This makes your next course of action fairly straightforward, as it’s likely time to hire a skilled and capable estate planning attorney as part of your estate planning strategies.
2. Work With an Attorney to Draft Your Will
When it comes to a will, one size does not fit all—particularly if the above tally of your assets showed them to be of considerable worth. The last thing you want is for your assets to end up in legal limbo—and your beneficiaries to be bereft of all that you worked so hard to provide for them.
Even with the representation of an attorney, drafting your will is one of the most affordable ways to protect your estate, secure your legacy, and provide definitive legal instruction for how your estate is to be distributed following your death. When you became a seasoned investor with a large-scale portfolio, you likely left the ‘DIY’ mentality behind. The same applies to your will.
Regardless of how you create one, a will means that your assets will make their journey through court with your wishes in mind. Otherwise, they will pass through ‘intestate,’ which can get very expensive and harrowing for your loved ones. Even if you might think you don’t need a will, this is one step you shouldn’t skip when considering your available estate planning strategies.
3. Convert Tangible Assets to Operating Units Through UPREIT Investing
Rather than letting your assets remain tangible and under the limited shelter of an LLC, converting the properties in your portfolio into operating units can provide an additional layer of protection.
UPREIT investing is a new kind of partnership, one that allows you to leave the legacy you actually want while being an excellent part of your estate planning strategies to reduce estate taxes. Investors who choose to convert their portfolio into operating units can enjoy doing so tax-deferred while making it far easier to allocate portions of their estate to specific beneficiaries than hard assets alone. Imagine how challenging it would be for a charity to inherit your properties and then go through the work of converting them into liquid resources!
An additional benefit of choosing to convert your properties into operating units is that you’ll continue to reap the rewards of real estate—with higher returns—and none of the work. These qualities make UPREIT investing attractive for both the benefactor and the future beneficiary when determining how to settle your estate.
A Better Way to Plan Your Estate
If you’re interested in learning more details about how UPREIT investing can help investors like you continue enjoying your lifestyle while preparing your portfolio for the future, get in touch with us! At The Peak Group, we’re investors for investors, so we know how crucial it is to get the details of your estate planned right.
When it’s time for you to leave the ‘landlord life’ behind, download your free copy of our Let Freedom Ring! ebook or contact us directly to learn more.