HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY
A real estate attorney is a crucial partner for every individual. How do you choose the right one, for you?
From buying a house and protecting your own home, to leasing business premises, investing and planning for your legacy and future family estate, an attorney is key. They can keep you safe, protect you from liability, and not only help keep your income up, and wealth growing, but play a big role in ensuring you pass those assets on as you hope to.
Find a Specialist
Not just any lawyer will do. You really need an expert. A professional with experience, who really specializes in this area. You don’t want someone who offers to take on any time of legal case, and just accepts real estate related work because they can, and for the money. Find a pro.
Make sure you know the exact person/s that will be handling your needs. Today there are many big firms, or even marketing companies who farm out work. You might be drawn by the reputation of one real estate attorney, only to get pawned off on someone new, and an inefficient assistant or paralegal, right when it matters. You can’t afford that. Know exactly who you’ll work with.
Find the Right Match
The ‘best’ legal help, is the professional that is the best match for you. Everyone is different, and has different needs, circumstances, and budgets.
Look for someone who is in alignment with your values, plans, and goals. If you don’t, you could be fighting with your own real estate attorney more than anyone else. Will they go all the way and litigate if needed, or not? Are they ok with, and understand your plans, strategies, and tactics? Will they happily defend them?
Find someone who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but that you can also get along with.
The Best You Can Afford
With so much on the line, this is not the place to skimp. A good real estate lawyer can save you $10,000 in an hour with a phone call or a letter being sent out. Don’t overpay, or sign up with a law firm you simply can’t afford. Yet, look for the best you can. They will more than pay for themselves.
How to Find the Best Real Estate Attorney
Referrals are one of the best ways to find any professional service. Do you know other family members or investors who can recommend a great attorney? Of course, that doesn’t always work in the legal field, as you might have a conflict of interest, or not want those people to know who your attorney is yet, and all about your business. Another option is to ask other local real estate professionals. What is the reputation of different firms within the industry, with judges, and paralegals, and real estate agents? Always vet them yourself too. Google them, check their reputation with the state bar association, and interview them personally.
For recommendations to the top NYC real estate attorneys we’ve screened and used, click here.
6 WAYS TO DIVERSIFY YOUR REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO
We all know real estate appears to be one of the best investment sectors right now. We all know that diversifying our portfolios is important. So, what options are available for enjoying the safety and performance benefits of diversification within the real estate asset class?
In this previous post we discussed ways to hold real estate for heirs with less risk and hassle. We also covered some of the types of properties you may want in your real estate portfolio for building a legacy here. However, there are a variety of ways to invest in property, and having a balance certainly offers some protections and advantages. This is especially true when it comes to thinking about estate and legacy planning. Let’s take a look at six of them…
Publicly traded REITs have been popular for those wanting the ease of stock market investing. They became more popular as some big funds swooped down on the US property market to gobble up large amounts of distressed homes to be converted into rentals. In spite of rising interest rates which can hamper REITs, there may be some value to be found here. Just be keenly aware that these types of REITs do not offer diversification from your stock portfolio and the high volatility they can be subject to.
Real Estate Businesses
Buying more real estate related public stock ought to be approached extremely cautiously right now. This is especially true given the giant Wells Fargo scandal, and its broad acceptance as the status quo. However, the recent PATH Act brought in more tax breaks and protections for those that invest in certain small company stocks. These can be highly risky, but may offer the most growth potential.
Prime income producing properties are probably the most common type of investment held by families looking to grow their estates and pass on a strong legacy. Everyone can benefit from having a portfolio of these income producing assets. This may include single family homes or condos, commercial properties, or mixed use properties.
Private lending has been growing in popularity and is likely to continue to gain traction for some years. This is an alternative to direct investment in bricks and mortar. It means providing your capital to other investors who do most of the heavy lifting in exchange for an attractive return, and often steady passive income stream. With Trump hoping to undo some tight restrictions around this sector more opportunities may emerge for private investors in the months ahead.
Note investing is essentially another form of private lending. However, instead of financing new loans sophisticated investors purchase existing real estate notes and mortgages, often at a sizable discount.
One common theme we have seen throughout American history and its most loved wealthy families and personalities is the investment in developing and constructing new buildings. For some it has been lavish hotels or condominium buildings. For others it has been libraries and parks. What will you build and add to the landscape as a legacy project?
ESSENTIAL MOVES FOR PROTECTING YOUR ESTATE
Essential Moves for Protecting Your Estate
Building up a business, portfolio, and estate to pass on is only part of the deal. Ask any experienced investor or executive and they’ll tell you that it is far easier to make a million, than to keep a million. What can and should you and your family be doing to preserve your wealth, assets, and gains?
Attorneys often get a bad rap, but you don’t want to be caught without a good one in your corner. Whether it is battling over a real estate deal, getting a partner to perform, of fending off a malicious lawsuit, you want the best defense you can afford. Rather than waiting until there is an issue to go hunt for help, it pays to have a strong law firm on retainer in advance. In America’s highly litigious environment it is not a matter of if you’ll need one, but when. Often just having a well-respected and feared attorney on call can deflect and deter many attempts to come after a share of your finances.
Legal Entities & Paperwork
While it may sound ironic; a piece of paper is often your best protection for your physical assets, real estate investments, and finances. Aside from the will, there are LLCs, trusts, and other entities and legal structures which can provide privacy and a shelter. Get them, use them well, and make sure you make no accounting blunders which could allow predatory law firms to ‘pierce the corporate veil’.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest threats that business owners, real estate investors, NYC landlords and wealthy families is frivolous and opportunistic lawsuits. It’s the American way. Thousands and thousands of suits are filed just to take advantage of others. We can’t change that mindset overnight. We can regularly use out right to vote and change the law. We can change the loop holes, make sure it isn’t too easy to victimize the innocent, and make it less attractive for law firms to hop from one trend to the next and seduce the masses into being so fast to sue. Use your right to vote at every level to protect yourself and your heirs.
Watch Your Taxes
If you aren’t careful taxes will eat it all up. There are estate taxes, capital gains taxes, taxes on investment income, property taxes, self-employment taxes, sales taxes, and more. Voting smart can help here too. So, can good accounting and selecting a great CPA who won’t leave you exposed to audits or the wrong type of attention from the IRS. Don’t forget to leverage legal tax shelters either. This includes vehicles such as self-directed retirement accounts and 1031 exchanges.