Asset Protection Strategies in Estate Planning

Helping Individuals and Couples in New York Choose the Best Asset Protection Strategy for their Unique Circumstances

If you have worked hard, saved money, and invested all your life, it is very likely that you will amass a large number of assets over time. Understandably, you want to do everything in your power to safeguard these assets. It is important to keep in mind, however, that there are various threats that may arise which could cause you to lose some or all of the assets for which you worked so hard. One of the keys to ensuring that you do not unnecessarily lose your assets is to keep these threats from ever materializing in the first place.

Educate yourself about the various ways in which you could lose assets. That is where a New York estate planning law firm comes into play. The experienced attorneys at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP, understand the potential risks associated with losing large assets. Our knowledgeable legal team can review your estate with you and help you decide on the best asset protection strategy to fit your unique circumstances.

What Are Assets?

Assets are simply resources that have economic value. An individual or corporation, in hopes that they will provide some future economic benefit to the holder or owner, may own these resources. Assets include fixed assets, short-term assets, intangible assets, and financial investments. Some common examples of assets that arise in the context of estate planning include the following:

  • Real estate—for example, homes, condominium apartments, apartment buildings, and other real property
  • Motor vehicles
  • Stocks (including cooperative apartments)
  • Bonds
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement plans—for example, 401(k)s and SEP-IRAs
  • Pensions
  • Brokerage accounts

The experienced New York estate planning law firm of Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP can review all of your assets with you and help you develop a strategy for protecting them.

Ways People Can Lose Assets

There are several ways in which assets—including financial assets—can be lost. While some of these ways are obvious to most asset holders, there are other more subtle ways of losing assets. Some of the most common reasons for asset loss include the following:

  • Divorce – If you decide to divorce your spouse—or your spouse wants to divorce you—there is no question that some of your assets will be at risk. This is especially true if there is no agreement in place that prescribes how you will divide assets in the event of a divorce or separation (that is, via a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement). The same would hold true in the event one of your beneficiaries decides to divorce. For example, if you left a certain piece of property to an only child upon your death, and he or she later divorces, that child’s spouse could end up with one-half of the property if it was not properly safeguarded prior to the divorce.
  • Failed businesses – Small business owners can still be held personally liable, in some cases, if their business fails.
  • Filing for bankruptcy – Filing for bankruptcy in the event of an economic downturn or another unforeseen calamity will obviously put a person’s assets at risk.
  • Care at a nursing home, assisted living facility or care at home – Sometimes, later in life, people must receive care at a nursing home or other long-term care facility. If you did not include Medicaid planning as part of your estate planning, you may be putting your assets at risk.
  • BeneficiariesIrresponsible beneficiaries can risk your assets by overspending or by using your assets for gambling, alcohol, drugs, or other addictions.

If you believe that you are at risk of losing your assets, our experienced New York estate planning law firm can help by crafting a plan that works for you and your unique circumstances.

Strategies Used to Protect Assets

Fortunately, several strategies can safeguard against losing the assets you worked so hard to accumulate. Those strategies include the following:

  • Transfer assets to a Medicaid trust – A Medicaid trust is an irrevocable trust. The trust holds assets that will be “non-exempt” when used to determine your Medicaid eligibility. If you did not put these assets into a trust, you could potentially lose them, in the event you must qualify for Medicaid services. You can with proper advice protect assets by transferring them into the trust.
  • Transfer the assets to a dynasty trust – By transferring certain assets into a dynasty trust, you are protecting them for successive generations against any threats that may arise. A dynasty trust can allow a person or family’s fortune to grow year after year and can protect the assets from the reaches of both irresponsible beneficiaries and creditors.
  • Use an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) – The purpose of an ILIT is to protect life insurance policy proceeds. If you transfer the proceeds of a life insurance policy into an irrevocable trust, you are able to maintain a certain level of control over where these proceeds end up following your death.

The knowledgeable New York estate planning lawyers at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP, can review all of your financial circumstances and help you pick a winning strategy.

Call Our New York Estate Planning Law Firm Today

Ensuring that your assets stay protected as you age is a great comfort to many people. The New York estate planning law firm of Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP can help bring you peace of mind when it comes to safeguarding the assets you worked so hard to acquire. Our knowledgeable legal team can review all of your assets with you and help you decide on the best strategy to protect them for a very long time. In addition, our skilled attorneys will explain everything to you in a very clear, easy-to-understand way, helping you reach an informed decision about your estate.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New York estate planning attorney, please call us at (212) 387-8400, or contact us online today.