Regardless of your age, health, and wealth, asset planning is important for your and your family’s futures. As the years go on and on, for people older in age the thought of what happens to their property, investments, and other assets after they die can get stressful.
Whether you are a senior citizen or a family member of an older person considering asset protection when planning for death, our estate planning attorney is here to guide you through the process. We know that death planning can be an overwhelming and emotional experience – our compassionate, knowledgeable, and talented Wake Forest attorney are here to make asset protection when planning for death as easy as possible.
What is Asset Protection?
Asset protection is an important part of the estate planning process. Asset protection refers to the legal technique of safeguarding your money, investments, home, and other belongings from creditors both during life and after death.
Over your lifetime, the more wealth you accumulate, the more vulnerable you are to the predatory acts committed by financial institutions, so asset protection is the best and most important way to protect you, your family, and your assets from ill-intentioned creditors.
Reasons for Asset Protection
Asset protection serves as a barrier between you and financial credit institutions if you are being sued or getting divorced. After death, asset protection protects your surviving family from unnecessary stressors while providing them with the financial support they need.
Asset Protection vs. Estate Planning
When working with an estate planning lawyer, you are dealing with end-of-life planning that focuses on wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Estate planning documents assign an executor to make decisions regarding your assets after you die. While these legal documents are very important, they do not outline how to protect your assets– for that, you will need to meet with an attorney to plan asset protection.
Your asset protection attorney will utilize legal strategies to analyze areas where your assets are vulnerable to liabilities. Once identified, your lawyer will implement those protection strategies to make it harder for creditors to target your assets.
Asset Protection Strategies When Planning for Death
You know that you want to protect your assets from attacks after you die, but may not be sure where to begin. The best first step is to call and schedule a consultation with a NC asset protection attorney. Your attorney will review your financial holdings and look for areas that need protection.
Some examples of assets are:
- Cash and cash equivalents
- Investments like stocks and bonds
- Residential and commercial real estate properties and land
- Commercial Inventory
- Vehicles and equipment
- Jewelry, watches, artwork, heirlooms, and other keepsakes
- Patents and Trademarks
- Intellectual property
Depending on the types of assets you own will depend on the strategies needed for protection. Let’s explore some of the ways that we can help you protect your wealth and belongings when considering after-death planning.
Your first line of defense against liability is to have adequate insurance for your assets. Having your assets insured will help protect you both during your life and protect your assets from being stolen from your family by creditors after death.
Types of insurance to consider for asset protection are:
- Homeowners Insurance
- Business Insurance
- Automobile Insurance
- Life Insurance
When working with your Raleigh asset protection lawyer, they help identify how the property and other assets can be protected through insurance.
Consider Business Entities
When a business has a sole proprietor, it ceases to exist upon its owner's death. That’s why it’s important to secure the future of your business, its inventory, and its revenue for the well-being of your heirs, inheritors, or partners.
Some ways to protect your business from liability for after-death planning is through drafting business entities and agreements such as:
- Corporation and S Corporation: the estate becomes the new owner of the business.
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC): an operating agreement that includes what happens to the business if the owner dies.
- Partnerships: a partnership, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership have an agreement among all parties of what happens after the death of the owner.
Invest in Retirement Accounts
Contributing to 401(k), 403(b), or IRA accounts makes it easier for your surviving beneficiaries upon your death, but there is no guarantee it will not be targeted by creditors. Having a last will and testament is an important feature of the probate process to protect your investments in retirement accounts that you worked hard to accumulate throughout your life.
Fund a Trust
A trust allows you to essentially settle your assets “from the grave.” In other words, your appointed trustee(s) will inherit money left to them in the trust.
There are several types of trusts that are used as legal strategies to protect the rights of your beneficiaries and your assets. Some types of trusts are:
- Lifetime Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP) Trust: sets aside resources for the surviving spouse, the QTIP trust ensures that a less wealthy surviving spouse can receive these resources for a lifetime if the wealthier spouse passes away.
- Discretionary Trust: as the trustee you are given full discretion to decide how your assets within the trust will be allocated to your surviving spouse and children after your death.
- Credit Shelter Trust: in the event that your surviving spouse remarries after your death, assets protected under the trust are kept separate from assets shared within the surviving spouse’s new marriage.
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT): holds onto life insurance proceeds for the surviving spouse and children of the trustee– individuals are assured that their life insurance benefits will comply with the wishes of the trustee without being vulnerable to estate taxes.
- Standalone Retirement Trust (SRT): inherited retirement investments are held for the children of the trustee.
- Inheritor’s Trust: gives surviving children or grandchildren beneficiaries control over the distribution of assets.
Why You Should Hire a NC Asset Protection Attorney
Don’t allow creditors to make you a target by attacking your assets after death. Speak with an experienced attorney who has proven expertise in developing asset protection strategies for you. Asset protection is an important part of after-death planning– it’s very important to hire someone you can trust.
Contact The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. for Asset Protection
The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. believes you and your family deserve the best financial protection for your life and after your death. Call us at (919) 228-4487 or fill out the contact form below.