Should Asset Protection Planning Be Part of Your Estate Plan?

Estate Planning Attorneys

Estate planning is defined as the process of arranging for the management of your estate usually following your death, but also in the event you become incapacitated. At its core, estate planning is financial planning to protect your assets upon your death. More people are thinking about asset protection while they are still living their life. Learn more about asset protection planning to know if it’s right for you.

What Exactly Is Asset Protection Planning?

Asset protection planning is a proactive decision to protect your assets from creditors, liens, lawsuits or divorce. It is not hiding assets to keep them from being found in a lawsuit or divorce, it’s about taking action before the need to keep your assets from judgment. Asset protection lawyers use many different tactics, all legal, to keep your assets judgement-proof.

Asset protection is determined by your own needs. There’s not a one-size-fits-all. Some states regulate asset protections much heavier than other places. But the idea at the core is to make it difficult, even impossible, to take your assets in a lawsuit.

  • Financial privacy – when people know that you are wealthy, you become a target. Keeping your assets private can reduce that risk.
  • Avoid lawsuits – no one really wins in a lawsuit, except maybe the lawyer. Asset protection planning is a way to take your chips off the table to prevent lawsuits.
  • Prevent seizure of assets – putting assets in a trust keeps them outside of the reach of a creditor or court.

There are many legal avenues to protect your assets, from a trust, an LLC, a foreign corporation or family limited partnership.

Do You Need Asset Protection Planning? 

Asset protection planning benefits some individuals more than others, as a Memphis, TN estate planning lawyer like one from Patterson Bray, would advise. If you have a lot to lose, it can benefit you more. If you work in industry at high-risk of lawsuits, you may benefit. Doctors and real estate investors may want to protect their personal assets against lawsuits from disgruntled patients or customers, for example.

The key to asset protection planning is that you must implement it before it is needed. You can’t be in the middle of a lawsuit and decide to design a trust that keeps your home out of judgment. Asset protection planning should be part of your estate planning discussion. However, you may need a specialized lawyer who understands taxes, bankruptcy, family law, and foreign investments to fully design a legal asset protection plan. Make an appointment today with an experienced lawyer to help you through the process.