As you get older in life, you tend to worry about several things. You have huge debts to pay and there may also be nursing home costs if you are put into a nursing home. When you pass away, some payments would also be made out of your estate, such as for income and estate tax.
If you do not have sufficient assets to settle all of that, it means you would have less or nothing to pass to your survivors.
But it doesn’t have to be so.
Through asset protection, you can lock away your funds out of the reach of creditors, liens and tax, passing the entire value to your beneficiaries when you pass away.
What is asset protection?
Asset protection is a legal provision that allows you to legally shield your assets or business from any party or entity that may have a claim against it, such as creditors, estate tax, probate, liens, etc.
In New York, several cases arise such that one’s property may be used as settlement for a judgment. But if you’re not ready to fall victim of such for the sake of your loved ones who you will leave behind, it’s important you carry out asset protection. And an asset protection lawyer can help you.
How an asset protection lawyer in Buffalo, NY can help you
At our law firm, we have highly knowledgeable and experienced asset protection lawyers who examine all your creditors, assets, and applicable taxes, among others to assess the risk your estate faces as regards future claims. Through this assessment, your attorney will then arrive at a strategy with which to structure your asset protection plan.
Notably, if you currently owe people money in Buffalo and worry that you may not be able to repay before you pass away, then you would need a Buffalo asset protection lawyer.
An asset protection attorney or an experienced estate planner lawyer knowledgeable in asset protection can help you prepare an estate plan that minimizes the risks that your assets would be lost due to future lawsuits against you or your estate.
Who can put your assets at risk
Your wealth can be put at risk in several ways
- As a shareholder, you can be sued by other shareholders in the business.
- As a business owner, You can be sued by your customer
- Victims of an accident can sue you as the at-fault party
- As a corporate officer, you can be held liable for liabilities of the company even when it’s incorporated
- You can be sued by your spouse or former spouse
- You can be sued for traditional debts and unpaid loans
- Medicaid can sue you for nursing home costs.
Asset protection through execution of an irrevocable trust
An irrevocable trust is a type of trust that cannot be revoked or altered by the trust creator (grantor).
Trusts are typically used for asset transfer. Any asset funded into a trust will be transferred directly to the named beneficiary outside of probate. So already, you are protecting your assets from probate costs. But the irrevocable trust does more.
When funding assets into an irrevocable trust, you are retitling those assets into the name of the trust, i.e., the trust becomes the owner. You cannot use such assets anymore for your benefit until death, and neither can you remove them from the trust without consent from other parties involved. Those assets have therefore gone beyond your reach and ownership and cannot be counted as available resources for debt, tax, or Medicaid.
You may therefore qualify for Medicaid benefits. However, you must employ the strategy at least 5 years (known as look back period) before you turn 65 (age of Medicaid eligibility).
Since these assets will be beyond your reach, your attorney will advise you on what assets to fund into the trust.
Asset protection through Strategic investments such as IRAs
Your attorney can also help you keep your wealth in special accounts such as IRAs, accounts that are specially protected from certain losses.
Asset Protection Lawyer near me, Buffalo NY
We are committed to your peace of mind. We understand that protecting your wealth and providing for your family when you’re gone mean a lot to you, and we will do all that’s legally possible to help you achieve your estate goals. Call us today.