As we await the New Year, it is time to think of exciting New Year’s resolutions. Beyond committing to a new workout routine or a savings plan, a great way to start the year is by committing to strengthening your and your family’s financial self-defense.
To help you prepare, we have compiled a handy three-step checklist to set yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond.
Complete A Financial Checkup
The first step to ensuring your hard-earned assets are protected against creditor claims is by knowing which assets are liable for creditor seizure. Begin by listing all of your assets, how each asset is owned, and their value. Then, list your liabilities. Who are your potential creditors, how much do you owe, and who is responsible for paying off the debts? Lastly, examine your short-term and long-term financial goals. What are your current and future sources of income? What assets go hand in hand with your goals?
At this point, you can begin thinking about which non-exempt assets you can convert into exempt assets, assets that can be owned by companies for liability protection, proper retitling strategies to shield vulnerable assets, and future resources that need protection. Moreover, you have a better understanding of your net worth and the wealth you expect to accumulate in the future. If you have trouble understanding which of your assets are protected and which are exposed, one of our Asset Protection attorneys can help you analyze your assets.
Prepare And Anticipate Trouble
It might feel like there is less uncertainty today than at the start of 2020, but don’t take that for granted. If during your financial checkup you listed assets that are low-hanging fruit for any potential creditor, you are in need of an Asset Protection plan.
If you anticipate personal changes coming up, such as marriage, divorce, or business transactions, set up an Asset Protection plan that adjusts to such changes accordingly. If you already have an existing Asset Protection plan, ensure that your plan is still in place and review it with an Asset Protection attorney if you, your family, or your business experienced changes.
Moreover, we need a plan not only for when we are still alive but also when are gone. What happens when you are gone? Who gets your money? When do they get your assets? Who controls how they get the assets? What happens if you become incapacitated? Who will manage your money? Who will make health care decisions for you? Who will take care of you? Who will serve as your guardian? Who will decide where you live? Who will be the guardian of your children?
Prepare an Asset Protection plan that goes hand in hand with your Estate Plan. Doing so allows you to choose who will be in charge of your assets and who will make sure your assets are distributed properly. Moreover, it allows for a transfer of assets outside probate, ensuring your valuable assets are passed on privately and at no cost to your loved ones.
Develop An Asset Protection Plan That Works For You, Not Against You
Asset Protection plans are designed to place you in the best position possible when legal trouble shows up at your door. However, successful planning works best when implemented before facing legal trouble. Once you have a lawsuit or liability, many Asset Protection strategies are no longer effective.
Fraudulent transfer laws give claimants the right to unwind or revoke certain transfers made by debtors so that the transferred property can be seized by the judgment creditor. In other words, under certain circumstances, the courts invalidate sales or gifts by debtors. Whatever the debtor sold or gave away is transferred back to him or her, so the creditor can seize the property. These laws prevent debtors from transferring property to defraud their creditors.
A fraudulent transfer can partially or totally destroy your protection. For sound protection, begin implementing your Asset Protection plan if you are free of potential claims. This is not to say that you cannot attempt to protect your wealth once you have been sued. It does mean, however, that you'll have fewer good options and that your resultant plan may be somewhat less effective than one completed before you incur liability.
Don’t make resolutions only to stop committing to them a few weeks into the new year. Now is the time to self-promote a moment of change and set a date for when the changes will commence. Contact us today to book a complimentary preliminary consultation to speak with one of our Asset Protection attorneys.