You may be surprised to learn that not only has asset protection planning been around for a long time, but you have already engaged in it at some point during your life. In fact, you probably have one or more types of traditional asset protection planning in place at this very moment. The problem is in many cases the type of planning you have right now won’t be enough to protect you and your family.
Entries in Trust in Asset Protection (8)
Some view asset protection planning with a skeptical eye. They believe there is a moral obligation to pay one’s debts. They think that asset protection planning is immoral because it prevents a creditor from collecting on a judgment entered by a court. The truth is the U.S. justice system is unpredictable.
Whether you are a physician or not, you probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with liability. It’s not just medical malpractice claims either – employment related issues, careless business partners and employees, contractual obligations, and personal liabilities add to the risk assumed by a physician in private practice. Unfortunately, in our litigious society, these liability risks are not unique to physicians. Business owners, board members, real estate investors, and retirees need to protect themselves from a variety of liabilities too.
Asset protection has become a common goal of estate planning. Asset protection trusts come in many different forms and can be used to protect property for your use and benefit as well as for the use and benefit of your family.
WARNING: Many people believe once they set up a Revocable Living Trust and transfer assets into the Trust, those assets are protected from lawsuits. This is absolutely not true. While Trusts commonly provide asset protection for beneficiaries, few Trusts protect assets owned by the person who created the Trust.
Leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries after you die will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses. Instead, consider using discretionary trusts for the benefit of each of your beneficiaries.
A common misconception is that only wealthy families and people in high risk professions need to put together an asset protection plan. But in reality, anyone can be sued. A car accident, foreclosure, unpaid medical bills, or an injured tenant can result in a monetary judgment that will decimate your finances. Below are three tips that you can use right now to protect your assets from creditors, predators and lawsuits.
The recent tax legislation dealing with the “fiscal cliff”, which went into effect on January 1, 2013, included significant revisions to the estate tax law that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. While you may have previously read about these changes, the following serves as a summary of the exemption amounts for decedents passing away in 2014.