Asset Protection and Estate Planning Perspective on the Importance of Holding Investment Properties in an LLC

Rachel A. Quinley

By Rachel A. Quinley



llcMost small business owners today are aware of the importance of forming a legal entity before beginning their business operations. However, more individuals and families are turning to rental properties as an investment strategy, and they do not necessarily think of themselves as small business owners. But that is exactly what they are. It is critical to ensure that if you or your family own rental or other investment properties, you protect your personal assets from liability by setting up a legal entity to be the owner of the properties.

The best option for most of these types of small businesses is to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Limited Liability Companies require less formality than corporations and are generally less costly to form. They also offer the benefit of pass-through taxation. Though liability insurance offers protection, the one-time cost of setting up an LLC is typically less than the cost of an umbrella insurance policy over time. However, there are still coverage limits with an umbrella insurance policy: If the rental property is owned in your individual name and your liability exceeds the coverage limits, your personal assets could be at stake. LLCs shield their members from personal liability when formed and operated properly.

If you are going to own multiple properties, it may be wise to form a different LLC for each property to shield each property from the liabilities of the other properties. You will want to consult with an experienced attorney to make certain that you are following the correct procedures in establishing your LLC, such as registering the LLC with the Secretary of State, creating an operating agreement, and obtaining a tax ID number for the business.

As you can see, LLCs are extremely useful as a means of asset protection. They are also a great tool for estate planning purposes. Continue reading »

Estate Planning for Young Professionals: Why Considering Your Death is Important Even at this Age

David A. Zobel

By David A. Zobel



Part of a monthly multi-part series of discussions aimed at explaining legal and financial considerations for young professionals as they establish and develop their careers, relationships and lives

It’s probably a safe bet that most people in their twenties and thirties have not given much thought to estate planning. Short of a first child or a friend asking if you want life insurance, planning for what will happen when you die probably hasn’t come up and why should it? You’ve got youth and health on your side. Moreover, you probably don’t have a lot of assets at this point.

So why is it important? Planning for the future encompasses much more than where your property goes upon your death. Estate planning can also cover:

  • who handles your finances if you are out of town,
  • who makes medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated, and
  • who becomes your guardian if a court declares you incompetent.

With these thoughts in mind, you may want to reflect upon the following considerations:

What Happens to My Assets?

You have more than you think you have. Even if you don’t own a home or a wall safe full of bullion, you still have assets and they need to be distributed somehow and to someone. Consider the following examples: bank accounts, savings accounts, stock, bonds, 401ks, IRAs, other retirement accounts, automobiles, clothes, art, appliances, and furniture. Chances are you have at least one of these things and more than likely you have a few. Maybe you’d like your friend to get your watch or a fund be set aside for your nephew’s college fund. Estate planning assists in sorting out who gets what and when.

What Happens to My Children?

If you have children and are single, chances are you may have spoken with someone about taking care of your children in the event you pass. However, without any sort of document proving these intentions, how will the State know what to do? If you are married with children, your spouse will take on the responsibility, but what if you die at the same time? Or get divorced? Your children’s future should be your decision and not left up to the State or a court system.

Continue reading »