Do you ever wonder why “asset protection” is such a common phrase in estate planning? This blog is to clarify why your assets need protection and from what. To put strong guard rails in place to protect assets you have worked so hard to accumulate, you need a sharp asset protection attorney who knows how to use the proper estate planning tools to your advantage. In Southeastern Massachusetts, contact the well-respected estate planning law team of Surprenant & Beneski.
What Your Assets Need Protection From
You may have assumed that resources tucked away in the bank or cautiously invested are already protected, but that is not always the case. The more resources you have, the more vulnerable they may be to:
- Probate fees
- Estate taxes
- Executor fees
- Bankruptcy proceedings
- Divorcing spouses
- Medicaid (MassHealth) look-backs
Tools We Will Use to Protect Your Assets
There are several estate planning tools our attorneys can use to keep your assets safe. These include:
- Establishing a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to own your business
- Creating a trust to own your business
- Purchasing Liability Insurance and Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect your business from personal injury lawsuits (e.g. premises liability, product liability, and professional mistakes leading to client or patient damages)
- Irrevocable trusts (e.g. Charitable, Life Insurance, and Special Needs Trusts)
- Life Estate Deeds
Seven Benefits of Having an Adept Attorney Protect Your Assets
Our asset protection attorneys have the comprehensive knowledge of the law and the legal agility to use the estate planning tools that will work best in your particular situation to help you:
- Avoid the expense and costly delays of probate
Trust assets will be transferred to your trustee upon your death and avoid probate.
- Avoid estate taxes
With an irrevocable trust, since you no longer “own” the funds in trust, they will not be counted as part of your estate when it comes to estate taxes.
- Lower the costs of your liability and/or malpractice insurance
Because you have fewer resources at risk, you will need less liability or malpractice insurance and therefore pay lower premiums.
- Lessen the risk of lawsuits
Once plaintiff attorneys realize that their assets are protected and that even if they win the verdict they will not be able to collect much, they may lose interest in the lawsuit or settle for minimal damages.
- Avoid punitive damages
Punitive damages are more likely to be sought by lawyers who know the defendant has deep pockets. The realization that your assets are out of reach may make this treasure hunt less appealing.
- Supplement insurance coverage
If your insurance company finds a way of denying your claim, protected assets can provide another layer of protection.
- Protecting your eligibility for Medicaid (MassHealth)
Medicaid will deny you benefits if a 5-year look-back shows that you have more than minimal resources. Nursing home costs are exorbitant, but are covered by Medicaid; protecting your assets is essential to maintaining eligibility.
The reasons to protect your assets are compelling, all the more so if you have a large estate, own a business, or have a family member with special needs or who may require nursing home care.
Contact Our Experienced Asset Protection Attorneys Today
The time to start protecting your assets is now. Doing so will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your finances are set up to protect you, your family, your business, and your legacy. Contact us now to secure your future.