Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: My Blog

Real Estate Investment Trust

Real Estate Investment Trust

Real Estate Investment Trust: Enabling you to be a part of the party

Real estate is a big business and everyone seems to want to invest in real estate. You keep hearing a lot of stories about how people made a quick buck by investing in real estate. There are stories about people who made $50000 in a fortnight by making the right kind of investment in real estate. Every now and then, newspapers keep coming up with statistics about the appreciation in the real estate prices. There seems a mad rush for investing in real estate (and this gets even bigger when the mortgage interest rates are falling). However, not everyone has the time, money and expertise to be able to profitably invest in real estate. So what does one do? Is there any other option?

Yes, there is another way of investing in real estate and that is through Real Estate Investment Trust. Real Estate Investment Trust is an organisation that invests in real estate as a full fledged business. By investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust, you can become part of the real estate investment party and enjoy profits (of course, the assumption here is that the Real Estate Investment Trust is good and professionally managed).

Investing in Real Estate Investment Trust is very easy too. You can just buy Real Estate Investment Trust shares which trade on all major exchanges. There are certain laws governing the Real Estate Investment Trusts that help them avoiding the tax at corporate levels e.g. it is mandated that Real Estate Investment Trust’s portfolio has 75 percent of investment in real estate. Moreover, 75% of the income of Real Estate Investment Trust must be from rents or mortgage interest. There are various types of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Some Real Estate Investment Trusts own properties themselves and hence feed on the rental income from those properties. Some others indulge in providing only mortgage loans or go for mortgage backed securities. Then there are Real Estate Investment Trusts which do both i.e. rental focussed investments and mortgage based investments.

There are a number of Real Estate Investment Trusts operating in the market and a lot of these Real Estate Investment Trusts are doing good business. By investing in Real Estate Investment Trust you are basically investing in real estate without actually buying a property yourself. This is one easy way of investing in real estate (and much safer too). You must surely evaluate this option for your real estate investments.

How can an estate plan help me?

How can an estate plan help me?

Do you know how your life will be divided after your death? Who will your estate go to Who will look after your children? With an estate plan you decide. You are in control of your family’s security in the event that something tragic should happen. Now perhaps you are a little foggy with some of the fundamental ideas associated with estate planning. Let’s start at the beginning.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law estate planning is:
The arranging for the disposition and management of one’s estate at death through the use of wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other device

Your estate is everything you own, your assets and liabilities. This includes things such as your house, account in your name, your insurance policies, and vehicles. The problem with dying without an effective estate plan is that even if your property is distributed to the proper people, a process known as “probate court” may cost your heirs up to 10% of your assets net value. Also you must take any children that you are the legal guardian of into consideration. If you do not have an estate plan it may be probate court that decides who looks after them after them after you are gone.

You don’t want to let this happen to you and your family. You need an estate plan. Now, in order to start estate planning you are going to need to look into the following options: living wills, revocable living trusts.

A living will is a document in which you can spell out where all of your assets will be going. You may also modify this document at anytime. You are the one in control. This is a great way to avoid probate court.

A living trust allows you to name a person who will handle all of your legal affairs after you pass away. Your trust may either be revocable or irrevocable. Revocable means that, just like a living will, you can modify it at any time. However, in an irrevocable living trust you do not have the ability to change it.

Having an estate plan can help your family avoid many hardships after your passing. Don’t let your whole life fall into the wrong hands. Take control. Make an estate plan today.

Trust funds guide

Trust funds guide

A Trust is perhaps the best channel to keep your money and other assets safe and secure for your future generations. It is a lawful creation that isolates your money for specific reasons.

A trust is beneficial even when the grantor is alive and after his death. A grantor, settler or donor is the person who is responsible for settling the trust. Trust funds can be set up by single or a group of individuals. There are always some reasons behind forming a trust. These reasons vary from persons to persons. Besides the grantor, there is or are trustees. These trustees are appointed by the grantor and they take care that the trust is functioning according to the will or wish of the grantor.

The first and the foremost benefit of a trust is the tax saving. A trust can protect the grantor from paying huge taxes and claims. Money kept in abeyance in the form of a trust can be helpful in your old age when you take retirement, when your children need money for higher studies or for the secure future of your spouse or when you plan to do a venture in business etc. The money enveloped in the name of trust is exempted from taxes like the estate tax and the like. The tax subsidy actually varies with the kind of trust you have formed.

Types of Trusts

• If a person is alive and forming a trust then such a trust is called a living trust. Every trust including the Living trusts can be bisected to form the- Irrevocable and Revocable trusts. The former are those where the statements cannot be altered by the grantor during his lifetime and even after that once legally formulated and the in the revocable trusts the settler can change his statements even after they are legally penned down once till the time he lives. For instance a trust set up by parents that provides for their minor children in case any problem grips them. Both these types of trusts revocable as well as irrevocable have their positive and negative aspects.

• There is also the Life Insurance Trust that ensures some kind of financial safety for the survivors in case something happens to the donor. A life insurance trust fund is better than a simple life insurance policy because of the tax exemption. The trust fund is not subject to the cumbersome Estate Tax while when the beneficiaries receive the policy money it is supplemented with this tax. Again there are pros and cons associated with both, it is recommended to take the advise of an attorney before reaching any conclusions.

• Bypass Trust is formed by a couple. When either of the spouses die, the estate is transferred to the other and is taxed and when they both die, it is taxed again.

• Spendthrift Trust- is a trust that allows you the opportunity to let only those people benefit of the money that you think are worthy enough. In simple terms via this trust you can safeguard funds for the individuals you like, no one else can claim them.

• Living Children’s Trust- is the trust to ensure a bright future for your kids. The grantor can add clauses in it like the child will get the funds only when he turns a major etc. and till then the guardian (usually parents of the child) he appoints will take care of the children and the trust fund.

• Charitable Trust Funds- the best philanthropic idea to help the destitute throughout your lifetime and even after your death.

Once you make your mind which trust to go for, make some profound thinking as to who will be its beneficiaries and at what time, about the trustee, what exactly are the terms and conditions, the taxes by the State, should the trust be revocable or not and so forth. After all a trust is your lifetime investment…you need not take any chances!

The Advantages Of Living Wills And Living Trusts

The Advantages Of Living Wills And Living Trusts

Planning for the future basically involves a number of benefits. For one, it prepares you and your family for the inevitable. Aside from that, it allows you to formulate your decisions level-headedly.

Then again, it is not unlikely for the task to become too emotionally charged at times, which makes it all the more fitting to get it done with a sound mind. But before you proceed with putting things in order ahead of time, it would certainly be a good idea to be familiar with the advantages of living wills and living trusts.

Living Wills

A living will contains instructions concerning your health care preferences in black and white. Your immediate family members, as well as your health care provider, will refer to these directives if you’re incapable of making or expressing your decisions about medical treatment. Anyone who has reached the legal age of 18 – or 19, in certain states – may draw up his or her own living will, provided that he or she is also of sound mind.

The biggest advantage of making a living will is that it allows you to voice out your preferences on the subject of life support measures and other medical treatment options. Even though your family and friends may not hold the same philosophy about the matter, the creation of such a legal document gives you an opportunity to confer with them and explain your choices.

You also get the chance to justify how your morals and values influenced your decisions. This furnishes them with a better insight into what you would ultimately want to come about in such difficult situations.

Without a living will, your immediate family members could face the possibility of paying large hospital bills. Aside from that, your savings account could also be used up to the point of bankruptcy.

So, in a way, the creation of a living will makes it possible for you to safeguard your family from the additional burden of searching for financial resources to pay for your hospital confinement and medical treatment – provided that the chances of recovering from your condition are very slim.

On top of the financial encumbrance, living wills also take away the likelihood of disagreements when trying to reach a consensus about your medical treatment. So instead of fighting against each other to determine what’s best for you, your family can concentrate more on accepting the inevitability of death.

Living Trusts

A living trust is a legally binding arrangement that places all your assets in a trust. More often than not, the grantor or creator also serves as the trustee. Although, you may also appoint another person or institution to act as one in case you lose interest in the duty or become incapacitated to fulfill your obligations.

Speaking of its advantages, a living trust allows you to manage your properties for the purpose of generating profits for your beneficiaries. In addition, it makes it possible for you to conserve or look after your assets’ growth.

Another obvious advantages of living trusts are the probability of reducing estate taxes and controlling the administration or use of the assets long after the grantor has departed from the world of the living. These legal documents also offer protection for the beneficiaries against creditors.

The advantages of living wills and living trusts are indeed numerous. So before its too late, safeguard yourself and your family from the harsh reality of the inevitable and from the fact that things could turn out real bad without proper planning.

Take Your Pick: Living Wills Or Living Trusts

Take Your Pick: Living Wills Or Living Trusts

Nobody can really tell what the future holds. Because of this fact, a lot of people have taken measures to make sure that things will turn out as smoothly as possible.

If you want to jump right onto the same bandwagon, then you better be equipped with the right knowledge prior to making that decision. Living wills or living trusts can provide you with that much-needed preparation but you certainly need to learn about these legal documents before you could actually take your pick.

Living Wills Vs. Living Trusts

If you want to know which legal document is more appropriate for you, you first need to find out the coverage of living wills or living trusts. Since they’re both legally binding, every adult person should almost certainly know how each could be of assistance to them in the future. In order to properly pick your choice, you have to know their differences.

A living will is a legal document that discloses a person’s wishes concerning health care. Its contents will only be effective once the maker falls into an incapacitated state wherein he or she is no longer capable of conveying his or her decisions.

The directives contained within it usually indicate one’s desires not to receive treatment or be kept alive by means of artificial life support measures.

Once you’re in an incapacitated condition, your family will have to make all the health care decisions for you. Aside from that, they will have to put up with the financial burden of your hospitalization. By restricting medical treatment, a living will could keep a tight rein on hospital expenses that could use up or even totally exhaust all your family’s remaining funds.

On the other hand, a living trust – also known as inter vivos trust – is a legally binding document that is drawn up for the purpose of controlling ownership to a person’s assets in his or her entire lifetime, and for allocating those properties after death.

The creator or the grantor may also appoint a trustee who will implement the terms indicated in the living trust in case he or she becomes incapacitated or unwilling to perform the duty.

In comparison to a will, the grantor does not necessarily have to pass away for the living trust to take effect. As the name implies, this legal document is effective during the creator’s lifetime.

A living trust however is only recommended for people who own a considerable amount of assets and finances. In other words, the necessity to create one is largely dependent on your circumstances, financially speaking.

If still haven’t decided which type of legal to choose, you might as well pick both for as long as the two are applicable to your needs and circumstances.

The obvious similarity is in the financial aspect. Living wills make it possible for you to save your family from all the trouble of paying for enormous hospital bills, provided that your medical condition appears to be beyond any possibility of recovery. On the other hand, living trusts lay emphasis on the need to properly manage your assets according to your preferences.

On the whole, living wills or living trusts make it possible for you to put things in order while you still can. Also, both legal documents allow you to prepare for the inevitable and the unknown.

Why Probate?

Why Probate?

Why Probate?
Nobody voluntarily chooses probate. People are too busy or preoccupied with health or other issues to plan. They pass away without a living trust and their heirs—-usually their children—- find that they can’t sell Mom or Dad’s house without a court order or can’t transfer Mom or Dad’s bank account without court approval. Even with a will, they may be forced to file a probate proceeding.
Alternatives to Probate
Because probate is expensive and time consuming, a responsible attorney first tries to determine if there is an alternative to probate. In California, the most common alternatives to probate are a Spousal Property Petition (if there is a surviving spouse) or a small estate transfer (if the value of the estate is less than $100,000). If these and other alternatives to probate are unavailable, then the only recourse for the decedent’s heirs is to file a probate proceeding.
Cost of Probate
Attorney’s fees and costs are set by law in California and are based upon the value of the estate. Here is the statutory fee schedule in California:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate planning involves distributing your assets after death to such people or causes according to your wish with minimum legal complications and the least tax incidence. And estate planning is not just for the wealthy; nor is it something to be contemplated when you reach the ripe old age of eighty.

Anybody, irrespective of age, with considerable assets and the desire to provide for dear ones even after death would be doing a great service by planning one’s estate. And the best time to plan your estate is now when you are still alive and have the requisite mental health to make rational decisions. An estate plan made during an illness affecting contracting capacity can be challenged, complicating matters for beneficiaries. Remember, death or a debilitating illness affecting your legal capacity to contract might strike you any day; therefore, you should prepare for that eventuality beforehand. ¿da

The first step in planning your estate is to take stock of all your material possessions (technically referred to as ‘estate’), and then determine their value. Typical items comprising the estate include: house(s) and land; bikes, cars, planes and boats; cash-in-hand; savings accounts, pension accounts; certificates of deposits; stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; insurance and annuities; employee benefits; jewelry, furniture, art collections; ownership rights/interests in businesses; and claims against others. Mind you, the list is not exhaustive and your debts and obligations to others are also a part of your estate.

Next, line up the details of your beneficiaries – names, addresses, and ages. In addition, you should determine who should be the trustees/guardians in case the beneficiaries are minors at the time of planning the estate. Also, you must identify an executor of the estate. It would be easy if you line up pre and post nuptial agreements, divorce decrees, previous wills, deeds of real estate property, and latest tax returns before you consult a professional estate planner.

Though small estates might be easy to plan, it is advisable to take the help of professional estate planners, including attorneys and CPAs, to explore all the possibilities to reduce tax incidence.

Remember, estate planning is not a one-time affair. Any change in your marital status, death of beneficiaries, a birth of a child, or changes in the law will require a review of the plan.

The Basics Of Estate Planning

The Basics Of Estate Planning

Estate Planning may be a word that is encountered by many citizens especially the elderly. What is Estate Planning? What benefits does it provide to people?

Estate Planning is a method of arranging and considering alternatives that will satisfy specific wishes and goals to prepare for things that may happen to a person and the people he finds special to him.

Estate Planning includes organizing properties and not just putting them in a simple Will. It also lessens the taxes and fees that may possibly be charged to these properties. Estate Planning also includes contingency preparation to ensure that ones wishes regarding health care and medications will be followed.

An estate plan may be described as good if it financially coordinates with the future of the home, business, investments, insurance and other benefits if ever the person becomes sick or will pass away. A good estate plan also sets directions to bring about personal wishes regarding health care in preparation for the when the person becomes disabled.

It is very important to identify the real definition of the term “estate” before someone can really perform estate planning. Estate means all the properties a person owns or has control of. This is regardless whether if the property is solely named after him or is in managed in a partnership. This may include real properties, accounts, bonds and stocks, cash, buildings and establishments, jewelry, collections, all types of businesses and even retirement benefits.

Typically, those who really need to have an estate plan are parents who have minor children, people who have valuable properties and have sentimental values for them, and also people who are concerned about their medications and health care. However, people can still acquire an estate plan whether they have these categories or not. As long as they have all the things that are covered by an estate plan, then they can avail of it.

While a person is alive, it is important to prepare an estate plan and at the same time implement it. This is the perfect time for a person to perform and have legal capacity to come up with a contract. There may be challenges that could occur if an estate plan is implemented when a person is already disabled. Others may judge the lack of capacity and the person may be prone to fraud, abuse and coercion.

Estate Plans may include wills, power of attorney for health care, living wills, living trusts and limited partnerships. When entering into a contract, it is very important to make use of the services of a lawyer. Lawyers are the only certified people who practice these fields. They are also the only ones who can supply a person with all the legal requirements and advice needed in the estate plan. An attorney will be able to answer legal questions regarding the estate and they will also be able prepare the person on the cost of the estate plan and other finances the come with it.

Estate Planning involves sensitive decisions and legal matters. It would only be beneficial if the person will always consult with legal advisors and also seek financial and medical advice. It is important that before a person will enter into estate planning, he should already have a strong understanding of the process so that things will not be difficult for those who will be left behind.

Must Read Tips on Buying A Home

Must Read Tips on Buying A Home

The home buying process can seem complicated, but if you take things step-by-step, you will soon be holding the keys to your own home!

But before going into the buying process you should first ask yourself if your are already ready for home buying.

Do you prefer or even enjoy moving into different places. Do you prefer using your savings for things like vacations, appliances, retirement or having your own business? Do you like to enjoy not having so much trouble with regular maintenance and repairs?

If your answers to these queries are yes, then you may not be ready to delve into the home buying experience. You may have a lot of good reasons for buying a home but you should also have to consider your reasons for not wanting to.

Remember than buying home is not just the biggest financial decision you will ever make but also the strongest emotional choice in your life, so be prepared to make wise decisions when you are in this process.

Buying home always seems to be a great idea, but it is important that ownership of a certain property comes with a great deal of responsibilities too.

Of course, being a homeowner is something to be proud of but it also means having to invest money, time and energy and take on added responsibilities. So, before you decide to buy a home, make sure you’re ready.

The first things that comes into our mind when we think about home owning, is the wonderful things that is connected to it. It is true that there are a lot of good reasons for buying a home. So here are some of the good advantages of home buying.

Financial security is a very great deal of advantage when it comes to owning your own home. If the housing prices would go up, your home can provide you with some financial security due to capital appreciation.

Flexibility is another thing, when owning your house you will be able to decide all the aspects that comes with it. You can decorate or renovate your home to meet your own family’s personal tastes and needs.

And of course stability, having your own home will make you feel at ease and less burden than renting one.

Although it is really nice to think about the positive aspects of owning a home, it is also a crucial part to consider the downsides as well. Here are some of the disadvantages on home buying.
Financial Stress is a very common problem in home buying. Coming up with the down payment, meeting regular mortgage payments and other ongoing costs will tie up a lot of your cash, and can put considerable stress on your finances.

Maintenance and Higher Costs are also a big problem. Keeping your home in good shape requires time and money.

You may pay more each month for housing than you did as a renter. There are also extra costs for maintenance and property taxes.

So, you’ve decided that homeownership is right for you. Now you need to determine if you are financially ready to buy a house.

To avoid any future surprises, you can do some financial exercises to see where you stand. They include: calculating your net worth, your current monthly expenses and your current monthly debt payments.

Knowing your net worth is important because you will need this information when you discuss a mortgage with your lender.

Your net worth is the amount left over once you’ve subtracted your total liabilities from your total assets. It will also give you a snapshot of your current financial situation and show you how much you can afford to put as a down payment.

Just remember all this notes and surely you will be able to arrive at some very good decisions in home buying. Do not rush into home buying, take some time to think and view the property first before closing a deal.

Closing day is the when you finally have bought your home; you now take legal possession and finally get to call your new home your own. You are sure to feel great relief and satisfaction but remember that the home buying process isn’t over just yet. There are quite a few things that need to be done on closing day.

Make sure that your lender will provide the mortgage money to your lawyer. You must provide the balance of the purchase price to your lawyer along with the closing costs. Your lawyer pays the vendor, registers the home in your name, and provides you with a deed and the keys to your new home.

Selling a new home

Selling a new home

Selling a new home sounds easier than selling an old home that need repairs here and there. But even a new home that we are selling, it still needs preparation to sell it. We cannot just put a “For Sale: new home” sign in front of the house and expect the people will come to you and sign the deal. Selling a new home is still the same as selling your own home but the difference is that it does not need lot of preparation as usual.
Since you do not have to spend much time in repairing or improving the house, you can catch up by making a marketing plan to sell the new home. The marketing plan is made to sell a home in a rapid time at the best price. The plan can be advertising in the newspaper, posting your listing on the Internet, holding an open house and more.
Just to remind you that there is two important thins to remember in selling home including a new home, they are price and condition. Any home will sell right faster if the price is right and reasonable. Any repairs and improvements or cost to sell should be included in your asking price but it has to be reasonable.
It is also helpful to discuss other terms and conditions, such as timing and items that can be included with the sale of the home. Both of these can make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Any realtor will tell you that the spring and summer are the best times of the year to sell a home, because that is the time when buyers are having a great interest in buying home. Selling a house depends on supply, demand and other economic factors. But the time of year in which you choose to sell can make a difference both in the amount of time it takes to sell your home and in the ultimate selling price. According to the most recent data from the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, about 350,000 transactions were closed during January and February this year, compared with 650,000 to 700,000 a month in June, July and August.
You also should hold open house to sell a new home which is one of the ways to promote your house to the your neighbors. This can be one of free advertisement in selling the home just in case if there is our neighbors’ friends or family who accidentally want to buy a home. Create an information sheet (with a photo) about your home to give potential buyers a description about your home.
Selling a new home is not as difficult as you think. Yet, it also does not as easy as it seems. What you need to have in selling a new home is a spirit to sell and link to sell your home and also a hard work.