One of the many reasons real estate investors love the self-directed IRA (SDIRA) is the control they have over both their assets and participation with traditional custodians. But many investors are also aware of the SDIRA’s relative security as an asset protection tool. If you weren’t aware of this benefit before, you are now.
Don’t make the same mistakes other investors make. Watch out for threats to your SDIRA’s security. If you establish an SDIRA, it’s smart to do what you can to protect it; read on to learn how.
When pros like attorneys discuss self-directed IRAs being “safer” than other investment vehicles, they’re referring to safety in two senses of the word. Your SDIRA isn’t “safe” from any type of attack, but it does protect you legally:
So, this article isn’t intended to suggest IRAs are inherently risky, just to remind you how not undermine its protections. The sticky reality is that for real estate investors, self-directed IRAs can be riskier when they own assets (including REI property) that have liabilities attached.
The biggest way you can be a danger to yourself and your self-directed IRA is by performing prohibited transactions. The prohibited transaction rules are a gift from our buddies at the Department of Labor. Basically, there are things you can’t do in a business context with your SDIRA:
For your convenience, we’ve compiled an educational resource about avoiding prohibited transactions, complete with examples. Our prohibited transaction resources can help you educate yourself to the point you avoid engaging in such transactions with your self-directed IRA. The only downside to the SDIRA’s freedom from custodians is such freedom means you are responsible for dodging prohibited transactions.
You have additional options for protecting your IRAs. For those of us concerned about our real estate assets, the liability-limiting powers of the SDIRA LLC offer an elegant fix.
The ideal legal tool for a long-term SDIRA owning REI is the SDIRA LLC. This variation of the retirement plan is hybridized into an entity, a more secure option for investors.
The SDIRA LLC is an alternative to the IRA Business trust, another option for IRA-owned entities. Real estate investors are attracted to the LLC option because of its strong liability protections. Using an SDIRA LLC gets investors the flexibility to buy real estate with IRA funds and the protection of an LLC, or the best of both worlds.
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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