Do I really need to protect my assets?
Often people make the mistake of thinking only the “wealthy” need asset protection or estate planning. In fact, anyone with at l some positive net worth should look into protecting their wealth. Asset protection planning is the legal route to take to prevent just anyone from taking your assets. Depending upon your profession and the amount of assets you own, this can be a very real risk for many. Asset protection also includes preparing your estate for the event of your death and ensuring your assets go where you want them to while minimizing taxes as much as possible.
It is important to have an experienced Estate Planning Attorney guide you through the planning process in order to avoid the possibility of having a defective plan that fails to accomplish the goals you desire. There is a difference in estate plans. We understand that everyone is on a budget, but estate planning is NOT the time to bargain shop. Beware of the fact that certain companies are actually “trust mills” that sell discount trusts in order to access your assets. They will then convince you that you must have certain financial products which may not be appropriate for you, although they will give the company a hefty fee at your expense!
For some professions with a high occupational exposure such as physicians, attorneys and certain types of engineers, insurance is the most common way to protect your assets. Transferring your risk to an insurance agency can help protect your assets in many cases. Insurance does not cover all risks, however and some lawsuits could exceed your coverage limitations or the claim could be denied. With the help of an Estate Planning Attorney, you can use statistics in order to determine how great of a risk you may have and if additional asset protection is advisable.
Another aspect of asset protection includes the creation of wills and trusts. These important steps can protect your beneficiaries from unnecessary taxation that can drastically reduce their inheritance. Not having a will can slow down the probate process resulting in costly time consuming disputes. Without a will your estate would be divided up according to state law which is often not how you intended your assets to be divided, especially if you have a second marriage with children from a prior marriage. A trust can avoid the probate process completely, thereby reducing the amount of expenses that must come out the estate before it can be distributed, as well as protecting your family’s privacy, as probate is a public court proceeding. Trusts can also be set up to help one qualify for Medi-Cal and also as a shelter from creditors. Seek the advice of an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to set up a will and/or trusts that will protect your estate both during your lifetime and in the event of your death.
Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. is an experienced Estate Planning Law Firm providing individually tailored asset protection plans to fit our clients’ needs. After carefully reviewing the details of the plan and all fees involved in the process, we begin to structure an asset protection plan based on our clients’ concerns and goals. Our Law Offices are located throughout the state and serves California in Elder Law and Estate Planning. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.