If you’ve worked hard and squirreled away a nice little nest egg you intend to rely on for your retirement and legacy needs, then you should also be considering asset protection strategies that could help you preserve that wealth. After all, what’s the point in amassing any type of wealth if you’re just going to let someone take it away from you? For while you might think that your assets are too insignificant to ever merit the attention of unscrupulous and greedy litigants, government agencies, or unexpected creditors, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that anyone with even a moderate amount of wealth can benefit from the advice and help of an asset protection lawyer.
What is Asset Protection?
Asset protection is one of the most important things that you can do to secure your wealth from all those things that threaten it. While most of us don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about all the different threats that pose a risk to our assets, the truth is that we should reflect on the issue from time to time. Your assets could be at risk from any number of threats, ranging from business loss or bankruptcy to divorce, litigation, or unanticipated creditor actions. Remember, we live in the most litigious society in human history. If there’s wealth involved, odds are that someone’s thinking about a lawsuit or some other action to take that money away from its owner.
But litigants and creditors aren’t the only threats to wealth. Take long-term care planning, for example. If you suspect that you might need nursing home care at some point in time, but are looking for aid to cope with care costs that can exceed $7,000 to $10,000 a month, then asset protection is something that you’ll need to help secure program benefits without losing your wealth. In like manner, you may simply want protection to ensure that your wealth isn’t wasted by a spendthrift heir when you die.
An asset protection lawyer can help you to cope with these concerns by using a variety of different strategies designed to shelter and secure assets from those risks that would consume your wealth. Sometimes these strategies utilize risk-sharing techniques. Other strategies can involve things like choosing the right business entity, living trusts, and other estate planning tools that protect wealth from loss.
How an Asset Protection Attorney Can Help You
An asset protection attorney can provide you with the help you need to properly organize your wealth in a way that provides maximum protection. This can take many forms, of course, and can use a variety of strategies. For example:
- Your asset protection expert can help you to leverage insurance policies to ensure that you have the policy coverage you need to protect against most common liabilities. Your attorney can examine your current coverage, identify weaknesses, and recommend coverage modifications that can make the most of every premium dollar you’re spending.
- Businesses are often at risk from litigants. The problem is especially worrisome for those who run their companies as sole proprietorships or partnerships, since lawsuits against the company can sometimes leave the owners’ personal assets at risk too. You can protect personal wealth by using business entities like an LLC (limited liability company) to limit your personal vulnerability to just those assets you have invested in the company.
- Irrevocable trusts can be a powerful way to provide your estate with the asset protection you need to guard against a variety of known and unknown risks. A spendthrift trust can help to ensure that a wasteful heir doesn’t lose the family inheritance with poor decision-making. A special needs trust can be a great way to enrich the life of a disabled heir without impeding his or her access to government benefits like Medicaid or SSI.
- For long-term care planning, asset protection is a necessity. Ideally, you should begin this planning at least five years before you need a nursing home, to ensure that you don’t run afoul of the program’s five-year look-back period. By transferring assets to irrevocable trusts and utilizing sound gifting strategies outside that five-year window, you can secure your wealth and make sure that you’ll be eligible for the benefits that you need to help pay for that care.
Living with No Protection
The sad truth is that too many people go through life without the asset protection they need. While most have the car insurance and homeowner’s policies they might be required to have, few ever have the kind of comprehensive protection that they can obtain using tools like trusts and LLCs. Sadly, that can leave their personal assets at risk when accidents happen at the worksite, and can even endanger their family wealth and prevent them from fulfilling their wish to keep that money in the family from generation to generation.
Asset protection should be viewed as a vital component in your broader estate planning effort. After all, that comprehensive plan is about more than just dictating where your estate assets go when you die. It must also be about ensuring that your wealth is properly protected so that there is something left to pass on to your heirs when your life is over. It’s about securing that wealth, ensuring that you have what you need to survive in retirement, and planning for your legacy. The right asset protection attorney can help you to accomplish all those goals.
If you haven’t yet considered how an asset protection lawyer can help with your estate planning and elder law needs, it just might be time to see how this planning can benefit you. At Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC, our asset protection experts can help to evaluate your needs, identify your risks, and create the right strategies to provide you with the asset security you need. You and your loved ones deserve to have wealth protection that works, and we’re committed to helping you to achieve that goal. To learn more about how our team can assist you as you work to safeguard your wealth, contact us online or call us today at (989) 872-5601.