LLC’s into a Living Trust
We (husband & wife) own 3 rental properties. I will quit claim & be sole owner of 2 LLC's, wife will quit claim & be sole owner of other LLC. Can we put all LLC's under a Living Trust (to avoid probate) that states we each have 50-50 ownership of all LLC properties? Or how?
You really need to sit down with an estate planner and CPA. There are host of issues:
- 2 member LLCs have to file partnership returns. Is this what you want? Need? Is this better than 1 member LLCs that will be disregarded entities for tax purposes so you only report on Schedule E?
- If your estate is taxable (and who knows the future of the estate tax) you might want a more comprehensive plan to fractionalize ownership interests, make gifts, etc.
- If you are worried about lawsuits and claims (other than from the properties which the LLCs should address) a revocable trust is of no meaningful help. You need more.
- LLCs require proper care and feeding -- do you observe all the formalities? This is far more important than the living trust and probate issue. Far far more important.
- Talk to a local real estate attorney about realty transfer tax issues.
- If you have mortgages on any properties have you addressed this with the lender? Are there due on transfer clauses?
- Be certain whatever you do your title and property & casualty insurance reflects the correct ownership structure.
- If you are worried about probate in a state other than the state you live in (called ancillary probate -- example you live in State A and own a property in State B) the LLC structure should solve that issue.
- Leases? Are they properly handled in the name of the LLC?
Lots of issues. A "pro" should help you identify answers pretty simply and quickly. A revocable trust might be good, but its far from the only issue and unlikely to be the most important issue.
You should look at 2 of my books: The Complete Living Trust Program and Starting Your Own Limited Liability Company. They'll give you a lot of background on all the issues you raise. You can get them from www.amazon.com. Good luck.