Leigh Robinson quote
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Leigh Robinson quote (by Scott [IN]) Dec 6, 2017 8:02 AM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by David [MI]) Dec 6, 2017 8:13 AM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by Busy, busy, busy [WI]) Dec 6, 2017 9:15 AM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by RB [MI]) Dec 6, 2017 10:22 AM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by Robin [WI]) Dec 6, 2017 11:05 AM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Dec 6, 2017 10:24 PM
       Leigh Robinson quote (by Busy, blah, blah [WI]) Dec 7, 2017 6:32 AM

Leigh Robinson quote (by Scott [IN]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 8:02 AM

In his book, Leigh Robinson stated "There are only 2 kinds of landlords - those who have been sued and those who will be". This quote has motivated me to take steps to protect myself and my assets. It is my understanding that setting up each property as a land trust is a good idea. What are the pros and cons of doing this? Is the process simple enough that I can avoid lawyers? This or other advice to make myself bulletproof would be appreciated. --108.219.xx.xxx

Leigh Robinson quote (by David [MI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 8:13 AM

A fat umbrella. My atty suggests $5M to cover all the bases --12.156.xxx.xx

Leigh Robinson quote (by Busy, busy, busy [WI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 9:15 AM

Hmmm, fear of all of that is the biggest shackle, imo.

Only a lawyer can represent another person, which is why LLC can only be represented by a lawyer. (LLC has been deemed 'a person' for this issue.) Those who either do work on property themselves, interact with tenants, have 'pierced the corporate veil', or, at least, still may be named in a lawsuit. (I've seen it where an employee of a firm was named, as well as the firm. Lawyers have caught on that many LLs try to pass themselves off as 'just the help', so, the help commonly gets named as well. This was not a LL case, but, it would apply. The employee ended up filing bankruptcy in order to save his own home. )

David has it correct- big whopping liability policy.

I also suggest making safety your top priority. SHOW tenants and the courts you make safety your top priority. My very first step in this is I ALWAYS hire licensed electrician to update electrical, and ALWAYS pull permits. It is my never humble opinion that in MY city, that goes over really well with judges.

I make my tenants my PARTNERS in safety, and they know it. My monthly newsletters often discuss safety issues. They all know to contact me quickly if anything seems unsafe.

I don't hire unlicensed, uninsured persons off of ___. (My city has a big problem with those persons scamming to 'get injured on the job', and sue the person that hired them. I will use the labor of my chain of heirs, but that's about it anymore. Everybody else wokrks for a firm with INC after their name, and insurance, license.

I do give tenants snow shovels, sidewalk salt, and encourage them to hang holiday lights to brighten walkways.

That's my personal preference. I seem to be an anomaly on this forum lately. Oh well. YMMV. --172.58.xxx.xxx

Leigh Robinson quote (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 10:22 AM

Busy, Busy, Busy,

Your first sentence speaks volumes.

And if you're an Anomaly, I'm Invisible.

Keep it coming ! --71.13.xx.xxx

Leigh Robinson quote (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 11:05 AM

The idea is to make yourself a difficult target so that contingency lawyers decide you're not worth the effort. There are several things you can do, ranging from easy and cheap to complicated and expensive. You have to decide what your risk tolerance is.

Land trusts are the easiest, and I think, first level of protection. They allow you to take property out of your name. This does two things: make it difficult to find the person to serve in a suit and difficult to find out what your assets are. I think technically the property would no longer be "your" asset. If you appear poor on paper, it significantly lessens the risk of a lawsuit.

As far as setting up a land trust, it is a legal document that most lawyers don't know diddly about. You need to either find one of the few lawyers that knows about land trust law and ask them to draw one up for you, or buy one from the handful of RE people who've paid THEIR lawyers for creating one. Randy Hughes and Mike Butler both offer a land trust course.

Once you've done it once, it will be easy to do yourself. You sign it; the trustee signs it; you don't even have to have it notarized but should to add validity to the date of formation. You want it to be "old and cold" to protect against accusations that you formed it to shield assets from a creditor, in which case it won't provide any protection. I of course did it for purposes of estate planning, but the privacy is a nice bonus.

If you're thinking about getting a copy of a trust document from someone and just using it...I suppose you could, but having purchased a course and studied the materials, there are a lot of nuances that you need to be aware of to get maximum value out of it.

The next level of protection would be an LLC that manages the properties held in trust, but that's a conversation for a different thread. --204.210.xxx.xxx

Leigh Robinson quote (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2017 10:24 PM


In Indiana a land trust is eezy peezy.

Other than the points already mentioned the biggest protection is to do your business correctly and realize you are being watched by the wolf, just waiting for you to trip.

Good paperwork, good records, prompt attention to repairs, screening out troublemakers...



Leigh Robinson quote (by Busy, blah, blah [WI]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2017 6:32 AM

Scott, I didn't mean to scare you off; I come on a bit intensely.

You can do a lot of legal, financial moves, but the biggest protection against lawsuit is to be a decent human being. That comes out of the business law class I took a few years ago. Number one reason persons sue: defendant showed no concern. But, that has absolutely no bearing on the opportunists who are looking for an excuse to sue. (The plaintiff in the case I cited above made his living by offering to help people, then suing for back injury. This is a very common scam in my area. Very common.)

Sadly, those persons who are looking for an opportunity to bring suit are out there, and there are many lawyers complicit. The lawyers have forensic investigators who can ferret out information, find the hidden assets. Thus, I never hire, or even accept help, from those kindly persons offering to help.

So, for me, my best defense is to maintain property very well, communicate to my tenants clearly, reminding them about safety, and only work with help where I know there is insurance in place, and the employee/worker won't be playing any games.

There are other good reasons to use trusts, as Robin outlined, and if it gives you a modicum of peace, then that's good. But, as for it making one resistant to suit, well, the person I know that was named in a injury lawsuit was two minutes away from bankruptcy BEFORE he was named in the lawsuit, and his modest house wasn't worth much. He was up against a professional scammer. Who had a lawyer friend. And, together they knew how to scam. --172.58.xxx.xxx

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