Unless you've been living under a rock or abstained from cable news for your own mental health, you're probably familiar with identity theft. Identity theft is an all-too-common criminal act that has steadily been on the rise over the past three decades in particular.
The sad reality is that anyone with clean credit, wealth, or valuable assets can become a target. As a real estate investor, you're vulnerable, particularly if you have property in your own name. But did you know that a land trust can help prevent you from becoming a victim?
Nobody gets into identity theft because of their impeccable work ethic. Identity thieves go for low-hanging fruit, meaning, targets that require the least effort on their part. This is one reason elderly people frequently fall prey to these criminals. Some thieves will dig through garbage for identifying information, usually to take out a credit card in the victim's name. Minimizing your paper trail will help you protect yourself in everyday life.
But how should you protect your investments?
Your investments leave a digital trail. This fact and the advent of Google have made investors attractive potential victims. All a thief has to do is poke around online and find a deed, which is conveniently catalogued for them on .gov websites. From this and other public records, the criminal can determine a disturbing amount of information about you, including your banking information.
Most criminals look for low-risk, high-reward targets. You don't have to sacrifice your wealth or real estate portfolio: just make yourself a harder target. This means you'll want to guard your "digital paper trail" closely, or better yet, not leave one at all. The crucial first step is keeping everything out of your name. The land trust helps you do exactly that.
Land trusts disguise ownership of property in a perfectly legal manner. The very existence of the trust means your name doesn't have to appear anywhere at all. This holds true even if you must use a mortgage for your property. Your name isn't the one on the dotted line on your payments--that honor goes to your trustee.
Note: Your attorney can be your trustee, and since your communications with your lawyer are confidential, this will give you further protection.
Establishing a land trust involves identifying appropriate properties, taking financing matters into consideration, selecting trustees and other manages, and of course, creating and executing the appropriate legal documents.
If a land trust isn't set up correctly, there is little point in setting it up at all. This is why it's crucial to enlist a knowledgeable and competent attorney. Improperly established trusts won't give you the protection you need, but the investment you make in a professional will ensure that your land trust is going to work best for your circumstances. Royal Legal Solutions has you covered. Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive land trust services, and can also advise you on what other legal tools are best for keeping your property and identity safe. Reach out to us to schedule your land trust consultation. Let us handle the paperwork, while you enjoy your peace of mind.
Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.
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