As you become successful in your career, acquiring assets (i.e. real estate) is a natural desire to indulge. However, you can end up becoming a target for criminals and others looking to take advantage of your hard-earned wealth. These people, unfortunately, have a leg up on their victims by using the Internet to tap into information freely available through a little time and research. Potential perpetrators search online databases looking for targets, and once your information is on the Internet, it can be difficult to erase.
Maintaining one’s privacy in regards to asset ownership is also difficult because real estate transactions are recorded in the public record, which again is largely Internet accessible. Some states, such as Arizona and Utah, keep public records that can potentially identify a company’s owner. Theoretically, after examining a county’s property records and determining certain properties are owned by a particular company, a criminal could then access that state’s Secretary of State website to match up the company with its owner if certain steps are not taken. What’s more troubling is that this amount of detective work can be done within minutes online.
People wanting to keep their ownership impenetrable to public snooping can do so through either private trusts or LLCs (limited liability companies). These corporate entities often use names that disclose nothing about the owners themselves. They are utilized by the wealthy and famous, as well as many other investors who either own additional homes or investment properties. A trust or LLC is smart not just for liability protection but asset protection privacy too.
One of the more amusing requirements of setting up an LLC, for instance, is choosing the entity name. Many people have been known to name their companies after pets for instance, which can be nostalgic but also reveals nothing about the actual owners to prying eyes. Other proprietors will choose the most inventive or outlandish names for their entities, displaying creativity while securing their anonymity.
When created correctly, these legal structures provide owners the benefit of complete asset control while maintaining total privacy. Even online research fails if the proper steps are taken during establishment, such that the public record does not disclose the individual owners. This video, for example, quickly details how you can set up this kind of anonymity structure using nothing more than a WY or NV LLC and member-managed LLCs.
Anderson has a wealth of experience setting up these LLCs and trusts for asset protection and privacy purposes with many owners benefiting as a result. If you need one of these entities set up for your business and assets, then contact us today for a free, 30-minute strategy session with one of our advisors.