The entrepreneurial spirit of the Silicon Valley has brought exponential growth to this area in both business and real estate. But where opportunity comes risk, and vice versa. Thus there is a growing need to manage and protect your assets in a way that corresponds with your overall long term objectives. Advanced estate planning techniques are available to do just that, because your financial plan should support the intentions you set out in your basic estate plan. These techniques include the use of legal entities such as limited partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and trusts. Depending on your circumstances, a certain type of legal entity may be beneficial to you.

Many long-time residents of the Silicon Valley have wisely invested in local real estate. Now, owners of commercial buildings and residential property are kept busy in the maintenance and record keeping required by these investments. But while most people own their rental property in their names individually, they might be better suited to hold the property in a legal entity. Holding property in a legal entity can create a more unified management structure to handle the day to day business, particularly when there are multiple owners of the property. Legal entities also make good sense for record keeping and tax reporting because the rental property is accounted for separately from your personal assets, such as the family home. As such, holding rental property in a legal entity provides some liability protection because that investment becomes distinct from your personal assets.

Using estate planning tools to protect your assets not only applies to people who own rental properties, but to skilled professionals whose field of expertise subjects them to some exposure. By using estate planning techniques to proactively protect your interests in your property, you can preserve your assets to serve your long term needs and to carry on your family’s legacy.

For others the time may be ripe to incorporate your business. Incorporating rather than operating as a startup or free-lance can provide for a sound management structure that outlines the ownership, responsibilities, and leaders of the organization. It also serves to make your business distinct from your personal life and possessions. This distinction ultimately lends your business more credibility and helps shield your personal assets from liability exposure.

Creating a legal entity to manage and protect your property can and should be effectively integrated with your basic estate plan. That way, even though your business may be distinct from your revocable trust, for example, good planning can ensure that ultimately your intended beneficiaries will receive your business interests. To achieve the proper protection, unified management and other benefits of a legal entity, seek the assistance of a skilled professional to form the entity correctly.

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