Asset protection is an important aspect of completing a comprehensive estate plan, but exactly what is it and what can it do for you? Many consider asset protection to be a strategy used by those in professions that are exposed to litigation, such as a doctor, to protect their assets from potential claims. While this may be one aspect of asset protection, estate planning considers asset protection for other purposes as well, such as:
- Protecting family assets from claims of creditors of beneficiaries;
- Preserving assets for the support of family members; and
- Planning the opportunities to preserve assets for future generations against the catastrophic costs of long term care.
An asset is considered to be anything of value, such as stock, personal property and real estate. It would seem on the surface to be a fairly simple issue, if you have too many assets to qualify for certain benefits or you are facing a lawsuit, simply give them away to family members. This is not the case – gifting assets, transferring real estate or using a joint account may not protect the asset, can complicate benefit eligibility and leave you vulnerable to claims.
Asset protection is particularly challenging for senior citizens and is best addressed by preplanning and establishing an estate plan that allows contingency planning, long term planning and planning for disability and health care issues.
Special planning techniques are needed to navigate the complex laws regarding asset protection. An experienced asset protection attorney explains the laws in easy to understand terms and explains the strategies that can be used to protect your assets and preserve them for future generation.