Asset protection ensures that the assets you build over your lifetime are not susceptible to being lost to the government, nursing homes, lawsuits, divorce, bankruptcy, or other predators. Asset protection is broken down into two key considerations; protection while you are alive (even if you suffer a disability or become incompetent), and protection after your death. If protection during one’s lifetime is sought, the question becomes whether you want to protect from creditors and predators or nursing homes, or alternatively protect from taxes at your death. There are strict rules on how to protect your assets during life or after death, but they are easy to accomplish when done properly.
Planning for tax protection is very different from planning to protect from other creditors. There are a variety of asset protection trusts available, but they all work differently. Some allow individuals to retain control of their assets, and even use or benefit from them, without subjecting them to your creditors and predators. Others prohibit the owner from controlling or benefiting from the assets. Some asset protection strategies permit the individuals creating the trust to change and modify the trust during their lifetime and utilize the trust assets for family members and other intended beneficiaries, but others prohibit any such changes.
The estate planning landscape has changed. A careful balance between protection during life and after death and protection from taxes or from other creditors or the expense of nursing home care is critical. Asset protection planning is not what it used to be. There are many new opportunities that did not exist even ten years ago.
Call Butcher Elder Law to discover all the ways you can protect what you’ve worked a lifetime to build.