Blurred Lines…. Yeah Your Property Lines

Anyone who has been in public settings can understand and appreciate the invisible line that makes personal space. You can’t see it, touch it, or feel it, but there is nothing worse than when someone crosses into it. That’s why when you drive down any given neighborhood, most people have fences to draw a physical line between them and their neighbors. Nothing personal, it’s just about the space. If you have purchased a property, I’m going to go ahead and assume it likely has a fence around the perimeter to mark your property from others. If it had a fence, it’s easy to imagine that the fence is the border and everything within the fence is yours and outside the fence isn’t. It’s a logical thought but if you thought you knew your property lines, you should think again! 

I know that may not be the news you want to hear, (or maybe you’re in a dispute with your neighbors and it's exactly what you want to hear). Unless you’ve had a land survey done of your property, you are basing your property line off of a plat map, which is like buying pants based on whether the waist fits around your neck (don’t act like your parents didn’t make you do that for back to school shopping). So why should it matter to you? The honest answer is it may not. Maybe you like your neighbors, have a large plot of land, or live away from other people. But if you have neighbors who have fences, sheds, or anything else that you think may be encroaching on your invisible property line or are buying a home and want to avoid the surprise of being told to move your fence, then you may want to make that invisible line more visible. Want to know more about your property line? Give me a call! Whether it's pesky neighbors, peace of mind, or just plain curiosity, I can help you find the answers.


What’s the Difference Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts?

Many people are oblivious to the different kinds of trusts and the purposes trusts serve to maintain estates.  Below, the two basic trusts are compared: revocable and irrevocable. However, when firmly deciding which trust to invest in, a discussion with an attorney will provide you with in-depth information and professional guidance. 

The terms of a revocable trust can be changed at any time, whereas an irrevocable trust cannot be modified without the approval of the beneficiaries. If you choose to put property in a revocable trust, you maintain the ownership of the trust and have complete control over it.  The property can always be taken out of the trust, and you control everything that happens to it.  In terms of the IRS, revocable and irrevocable trusts are treated the same.  However, if you choose an irrevocable trust, you essentially lose personal control over it.  The trust claims ownership over the property and controls its future.  The former owner of the trust (you) would not be able to remove the property from the trust or sell the trust itself.  The future of the trust can only be controlled by the beneficiaries. 

Choosing which trust is right for you depends entirely on your individual circumstances.  However, the purposes of each trust can be separated based on their standard uses: usually, irrevocable trusts are used for estate and federal estate tax purposes, and revocable trusts (a.k.a. living trusts) are initiated to evade probate issues but do not affect your federal income or estate income taxes. 

This decision should be made with the consultation of an attorney.  An attorney will be able to guide you and explain each type of trust in more detail.  With the information and purpose of each trust, you will be able to make an informed decision on what will most benefit you and your family. 

To read IIyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin’s full article, click the link below.