5 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR ESTATE THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY
Independence Day is here. What will you do to make the most of your freedom and American estate this year?
While we are warming up the BBQ grills, breaking out the flags, and making sure we’ll have a great view for the fireworks on the 4th of July, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think on what this holiday is really about, and how we can build more independence into our lives, and future estates.
Here are five things we can do this holiday week as we enjoy our freedom and the great place we get to live in…
1. Invest in Property
The great American dream isn’t just about buying and mortgaging a grand luxury home. It’s about the freedom to own our own estates, and invest in real estate. Beyond our residences that includes income producing property which can provide ongoing passive income for retirement, and even for the next generation. It’s a freedom we should definitely be flexing more often.
2. Reduce Taxes
The original battle for independence was a lot about protesting high taxes. Obviously, we are now being hit with a myriad of additional taxes, and 10 to 20 times more in taxes out of our incomes than back in the 1700s. Fortunately, we can find ways to generate income and invest for gain, while deferring or even eliminating some of these taxes. 1031 exchanges and self-directed retirement account investing are great ways to achieve this.
3. Update Your Will
For many, the freedom to earn, invest, and prosper is not just about personal gain. It is also about building an estate which can last for generations. Of course, that is only going to be successful, if there is a solid succession plan in place, with the right legal framework, well in advance. It might be worth taking another look at your will this weekend and seeing where you may need to make some updates.
4. Talk to an Expert about Trusts
Trusts can take on some of the functions of wills, while providing some potential tax benefits as well. They can also go further in helping to prepare for illness and injury, and protecting an estate during these times. If you don’t have one, or haven’t talked to a pro recently to get up to date on the latest options, make that a priority.
5. Make Memories
Some of the greatest wealth we can accumulate and give is not things at all. It’s not even family heirlooms. It is memories. So, have fun with your 4th of July celebrations this year. Make the time to make great memories, and document them too.
THOUGHTS ON CREATING A LEGACY THAT LASTS
Father’s Day 2017 is almost here. What key questions should we all be pondering this year, to help create valuable legacies that last for more than a generation?
Despite the headlines that declare many major American retailers are struggling, the National Retail Federation predicts that spending on Father’s Day gifts will hit a 15 year high in 2017, with around $14.3B being spent. A larger part of this spending this year is expected to be spent on experiences rather than material gifts, according to Market Watch.
Here are some questions we all might want to think about as June 18th comes around…
Father’s Day 2017 Gift Ideas
Still need gift ideas?
Whether you are a father, child, or just know some dads; there are lots of things to think about this Father’s Day. Just don’t forget to spend some quality time with someone special. Bookmark this page for whenever you need a gift idea for an important Father!
5 OF THE BEST WAYS TO SHOW YOUR LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY
Valentine’s Day is coming up fast. What are some of the best ways you can show how much you love someone this year?
Jewelry, flowers, cards, chocolates, clothes, and even romantic weekend getaways are expected. Though they can be a little tacky, and are rarely original or long lasting. What may be some more meaningful ways to show you care this year?
Whether it is a life partner, child, sibling, or a parent you are most concerned with this year, incorporating them into your will can be one of the best ways to show your love. If you don’t have one, or at least an updated one, this is one of the acts which will really demonstrate your devotion. It is a tool that can ensure they are taken care of well after you can’t be there.
Wills are great are covering something, but not everything. A trust can handle a lot of the other details. It can also be a vehicle that can be used to grow more wealth today. Perhaps it can be a pet project you can work on together.
Give the Gift of Real Estate
It’s hard to beat real estate as a Valentine’s Day gift. It could be a new home, vacation condo, romantic cottage getaway, or an income producing investment property. Put a giant bow on it.
Sometimes we are a little too practical. Sometimes are loved ones are too practical and frugal. Sometimes we miss what is really most important. A property makeover is a great way to spoil someone. It could be bringing in a designer to remodel your home, giving them a budget to go shopping, or even funding a new office or office renovation for someone you love.
There is no substitute for spending quality time with others. Time is the most scarce and precious asset we have. There is a time to take a relaxing walk in the park, to share dinner together, and just kick back at home. However, consider making this time even more valuable this year by talking about your future, educating them on what you know about investing, and make plans together.
7 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN HIRING AN ESTATE ATTORNEY
What should you be looking for when hiring an attorney for your estate?
Securing a great attorney to craft wills and trusts, and to help with your estate planning is very important and necessary. However, who you choose can make a significant difference in how well your intentions and interests are protected and executed on. So, what do you look for?
Law is a lucrative industry, so it’s no wonder all types of people want to be in it. Always first make sure your short-list of lawyers is legally able to provide the services they are promoting. The American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association are two resources for helping with that.
Look for a specialist in what you need help with. There are all types of attorneys. Criminal defense attorneys, injury law attorneys, real estate attorneys, tax lawyers, corporate law firms, and more. There are some which try to cover broad menus of services to get the most clients. Others specialize in certain areas like family law, asset protection, etc. Get an expert.
3. Trusted & Proficient
It’s so easy to throw up a website and get a business phone number or fancy mailing address these days. So, look for referrals and online reviews, or complaints when evaluating your options.
Some law firms are clearly much stronger than others. You want one which will be around to keep helping your family when you need it most. While some lawyers cost more than others, you might be surprised at what just dropping their name, or a letter head with their name on it can do compared to cheap options. Get the best legal assistance you can afford.
You want options. Like accountants on taxes and various corporate entity selections, bankers on mortgages, and even doctors on medical treatment; lawyers can have their favorite strategies and tools too. But, you should be presented all your options.
6. Shared Values
Some clients may only care about securing the most effective legal representation. That’s understandable. However, you’ll find everything flows better if you find an attorney who shares your values as well.
7. Who You Will Actually Deal With
One of the frustrating quirks of today’s legal industry is that you often don’t end up working with the face on the billboard. Too often clients are signed up and shuffled over to a brand new recruit. You want to know exactly who will be helping you and working on your cases.
If you are looking for an attorney in NYC check this page for some of those we recommend.
TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT FOR BUILDING A LEGACY
Which types of real estate investment may be best for building a legacy estate?
Real estate investment can be one of the best tools for preserving, growing, and optimizing an estate, and creating a legacy that will go on giving during your lifetime and beyond.
The exact mix of investments, and structures which are best for your individual portfolio are certainly a personal decision. They will depend on what you are starting with, your anticipated timeline, and your age and health, and that of your heirs. However, the following are some staple selections which can be a great fit for many estate plans.
The Family Home
The most common type of property in most estates is the family home. The associated tax breaks and legal shelters this asset offers is one of the reasons that sophisticated individuals often invest so heavily in their primary residences. The one caveat here is considering what heirs will really want to do with that property after you pass, and perhaps your long term housing needs. Should it be kept, or will it become a burden? When is the optimal time to resize your residence?
Second Homes & Vacation Homes
These types of properties can often offer a hybrid combination of the benefits of pure investment real estate and personal residences. They can also offer geographic diversification for your portfolio, and often an equity building head start on a retirement home. This may also provide an advantage in shifting residency to a safer and lower tax environment later.
Higher education is only getting more expensive, and so is student housing. If your children are still planning on attending college it may be beneficial to secure them housing near to education. Any additional income or equity produced by the property could offset education expenses as well.
The recent and current real estate and finance environment has left a significant void in lending and benefits of leaving money deposited in the bank. This has created a new trend and more advantages in parents financing their children’s starter homes. It reduces the burden and credit hit for children, while helping to get the most out of capital for parents. Explore different options for gifting down payments or providing private mortgage loans, and the tax breaks.
Commercial Income Properties
With so much of the above invested in the residential market it can be wise to diversify into commercial properties for income and wealth preservation. Retail, office, multifamily, and mixed use properties can all offer diversification as well as passive income for principals and heirs for the long term.
Future Development Sites
Land, infill lots, and prime buildings which are ripe for future development can balance other assets by providing potential for bigger wealth leaps and cash gains. These investments can be staggered to deliver at different life milestones while minimizing holding costs and management now. You don’t have to be the one to develop or build either. You could sell the opportunity on, or partner with someone else.
All of the above may be great choices for your estate and portfolio. Leveraging 1031 exchanges, trusts, and self-directed retirement accounts for limiting liability and taxes can make these options even better too.