Asset Protection Planning

Asset Protection

You never know when life may change. 

Many people assume that estate planning is only for the wealthy.  Others assume that a Last Will and Testament is a sufficient “plan.”  However, it is critical that you create and complete a comprehensive estate plan to protect you and your family no matter what your financial status. This is one of the most important things that anyone can do to safeguard life now and later on for you and/or your loved ones. 

An estate plan is necessary to ensure that your financial and personal needs are taken care of by the persons of your choosing and that your affairs are settled in an orderly fashion after your death. For those who want to leave a family legacy (especially small businesses and farms), we can secure these assets for the future generations with the least amount of interference in your current use of the asset.

 

Additionally, the cost of long-term care may jeopardize an individual’s accumulated wealth, surpassing death taxes and administration costs.  We often work with individuals facing an immediate need for long-term care and successfully assist them in protecting assets.  However, the best time to protect assets from the costs of long-term care is well before it’s needed.

The further in advance you plan, the more flexible and successful your asset protection plan will be.

Asset Protection asset protection
Asset Protection asset protection

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

Asset Protection asset protection

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

 A well-crafted estate plan should address a broad range of issues and provide appropriate persons with the authority and instructions they need. 

This includes answers to questions like:

  • Who would take care of you and your affairs if you were incapacitated?
  • Who would handle your finances?
  • Who would make health care decisions?
  • How would these individuals care for you and your affairs?
  • How can you protect your assets should you require long-term care?
  • How can you ensure that your spouse is protected if you need long-term care?
  • Are other family members reliant on your care, and would this process require protecting assets for them in the event of your long-term care need?
  • What happens to your assets after you die?
  • How will assets be allocated among beneficiaries?
  • How do you avoid the cost of probate?
  • Do you need to place restrictions or protections over the inheritance for a loved one due to disability, poor money management, substance addiction, or unstable marriage?
  • Who would provide care for your minor child(ren) or child(ren) with a disability if you become incapacitated or when you die?
  • How would you like your child(ren) to be taken care of upon your passing?
  • If death taxes are an issue for you, how might you reduce your estate tax exposure?
  • How do you ensure your spouse is adequately provided for, while ensuring inheritance for your child(ren)?

Without an effective plan, persons not of your choosing may be placed in charge of your affairs.  In addition, a guardianship may be needed where a judge makes decisions about your health care and finances that may be contrary to your desires.  Your estate may also be unduly assessed costs that could have been avoided with an effective plan.

We will also guide you in creating a specific and customized estate plan – drafting such things as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care advance directives, funeral planning directives, and any other necessary legal documents.

An effective plan anticipates many possible scenarios – from death and disability to Medicaid and nursing home care.

Asset Protection asset protection

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start an asset protection plan?

Generally the earlier the better. While we can protect assets for those who have an immediate need for long term care, individuals have much more flexibility in planning early, long before the need for care.

I have a family farm or business that I want to protect for my family, when should I start the asset protection process?

Ensuring that a family farm or business is protecting requires careful planning long before the need for long term care. Typically, this should be a discussion to have with an elder law attorney as soon as you begin to contemplate retirement. Those who have a higher risk of long term care need, such as a debilitating illness in their family history, should consider planning even sooner.

How can an irrevocable trust be used to protect assets?

Transferring assets to an irrevocable trust results in relinquishing some or all control and ownership of that property. By transferring property to the trust, the property is no longer considered yours. Consequently, public benefits programs do not include such property as your property when determining eligibility for assistance. We can help you determine if and when an irrevocable trust is suitable to meet your goals.

Are irrevocable trusts the only way to protect assets?

No. A comprehensive asset protection analysis should consider all options such as long term care insurance, self-funding, and other estate plan strategies.

Still have questions?

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