Most of us have given some thought as to who we want to inherit from us when we pass away. In my experience, most of my clients want their spouse, children, or select loved ones to inherit their hard-earned assets. Some clients have people in their lives who they absolutely do not want to leave assets to. Other clients want to ensure specific charities or organizations inherit from their estate. No matter your preference, most, if not all, of my clients can agree that they don’t want to hand over those hard-earned assets to strangers, the government, attorneys, or the court.
For these reasons people will often execute estate planning documents. Rather than relying on your state’s default administration rules, you may execute a will that names an executor and beneficiaries. However, this still requires that your will be probated through the court after you pass. This often leads to attorney fees, court fees, and opens your estate up to claims. To completely avoid this costly and time-consuming probate process, many clients execute a trust and work with their attorney to properly retitle their assets. There are different types of trusts, as well as other gifting strategies which can be used to reduce or even eliminate estate taxes so that your estate doesn’t pay more than its fair share in taxes.
Unfortunately, many people stop here and fail to implement an Asset Protection Plan. If the goal is to protect and preserve your hard-earned assets so that they are available for you during your lifetime and then for your loved ones after you pass, then it would be prudent to create an Asset Protection Plan. Why should you lose your hard-earned assets defending against a frivolous lawsuit? Why should strangers, attorneys, and courts walk away with your assets when they could have been protected with a proper asset protection plan? You wouldn’t simply hand money over to the government or to a stranger, but without an Asset Protection Plan you are leaving yourself vulnerable to that very possibility.
By speaking with an attorney who specializes in Asset Protection and Estate Planning you can take the steps now to create a fully integrated Asset Protection Plan and Estate Plan that will protect and preserve your wealth for yourself and your loved ones. By ensuring that your assets are protected during your lifetime, you in turn ensure that you are leaving as much as possible for your beneficiaries.
For additional information about Asset Protection Planning and Estate Planning, contact The Presser Law Firm, P.A. for a complimentary preliminary consultation.