Since the Series LLC is a lesser-known entity compared to its Traditional LLC counterpart, it is only natural that real estate investors have questions about the structure. So you can better understand the Series LLC, we have collected some of the FAQs here.
Absolutely, particularly if you compare the Series LLC with an equivalent amount of Traditional LLCs. Optimal asset protection is achieved by maintaining a single asset per LLC. For owners of multiple properties, the Series LLC is a no-brainer. The Series LLC requires only a single filing fee, and you receive a single EIN to make matters easier come Tax Season. Traditional LLCs, on the other hand, require a fee for each LLC created. When you can simply create a Series for free with a Series LLC, it makes no sense to fumble around with multiple LLCs and all of the record-keeping required to maintain them.
Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is “no.” But allow us to elaborate on why. Contrary to some of the misinformation out there about the Series LLC, there are ways to bank effectively with a Series LLC that will only require a single bank account and card. Similarly, the Series LLC is an entity that easily lends itself to traditional bookkeeping. If you are already using traditional bookkeeping methods, fantastic! You won’t have to change anything. We have seen clients effectively keep records for their Series LLC by using an Excel sheet with multiple tabs--one for each Series.
The answer to this question depends on the level of protection you want. Some investors are comfortable using the Series LLC as an asset-holding company alone, then doing any business that requires contact with the outside world personally. Examples of business that involves the public include collecting rental payments, hiring contractors, etc.
Investors seeking a higher level of protection may opt to use a shell company. A shell company is typically a Traditional LLC. This company would be responsible for any operations, but would not actually own anything. In fact, if someone does decide to sue you, this is the company we want them to sue. You can think of it as the “fall guy.” If a lawyer researches your shell company, he or she will realize suing you is a waste of time because it does not own any assets to seize upon judgment.
For an even greater level of protection, you have the option of incorporating Anonymous Land Trusts. Learn more about the Land Trust and Series LLC asset protection strategy from this previous article on the subject.
One of the main benefits of the Series LLC is that it makes maintaining your anonymity much easier. Anonymity is crucial to preventing lawsuits. Anyone looking to sue you will hire a lawyer pretty much immediately. The first thing that attorney will do is look to see who owns the property. By having the name of an entity like a Series LLC recorded as the owner of your property rather than using your own name personally, you become a much less attractive target.
But that benefit can be undermined if you fail to name your Series LLC in such a way that preserves your anonymity. To best preserve your anonymity, we suggest that you avoid using any version of your first and last name, business names already well associated with your name, or any other information that clearly links you to the property. To foil the business end of the lawsuit industry, we want an entity that is difficult to tie to you personally. The only other naming concern to take into consideration is whether the name you want is already in use by another business. We have found that a little bit of internet research and creativity can address this concern, as can having your attorney check for you when you form your entity.
The Series LLC is our bread and butter, and we have been known to sing its praises here and in other corners of the internet. If you are ready to learn firsthand how the Series LLC can protect your real estate investments, contact Royal Legal Solutions with any questions you may have. If you believe the Series LLC may be the entity for you, feel free to schedule your personalized asset protection consultation today. Our experts will review your personal situation and make recommendations about the best legal tools for defending your real estate investments, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
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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