We have helped clients protect their families for over thirty years. Good planning should include a discussion on how to protect you from the unexpected creditor. Unfortunately, we are living in a society where if someone gets hurt, they expect someone else to pay for it. Further, if you are perceived as a “deep pocket”, you can easily become a target for someone’s frivolous lawsuit. We help clients answer this question: “How can we better protect ourselves?” Of course, timing is everything. If you already have a creditor on your doorstep, planning opportunities may be very limited. Any attempt to hide assets or move assets may be set aside later by the Court. This does not mean to say do nothing. Understanding and planning can help greatly. There are three levels of protection planning that we can discuss. Protecting you or you and your spouse, protecting the surviving spouse and protecting children and the legacies they will receive.
There are practical things that people can do or should not do. Insurance is always important and when available, obtaining “Umbrella Coverage” over and above your standard car and homeowners insurance. How assets are owned are very important as there are choices and each choice has good or bad consequences. Are the use of Limited Liability Companies, Domestic Asset Protection trusts, Offshore Trusts or other similar planning ideas practical or overkill. All protection planning must be reasonable and appropriate to your circumstances so that the planning does not become a new expensive problem in your life to manage. We do not suggest clients can become bullet proof from creditors. But we do help clients build a higher wall of protection around the assets they have saved for their future and for their children.
Protecting the Surviving Spouse
Planning can incorporate protection for the surviving spouse. There is a Window of Opportunity that closes when one spouse dies. We talk about the Creditors and Predators of life. When a person loses his or her spouse, they become much more vulnerable to loss of assets thru lawsuits, fraud, bad second marriages and other unforseen circumstances. Good planning can help protect assets you leave behind for your spouse. For many of our clients, it is very important that what they have accumulated together stays in the family and not moved in a new direction they did not intend. Our job is to discuss what this planning looks like, to discuss choices and to help our clients make well informed decisions.
Protecting the Children
Legacy Protection Trusts are designed to protect the inheritances left to children and grandchildren. They are not just for children who can’t handle money or are too young. They are designed to protect children and their inheritances from the Creditors and Predators of life. Poor money management, no retirement savings, bad marriages, business failures, catastrophic illness or other things can leave your children with little to live on as they move thru life and towards retirement. These can happen to good children who manage money well. There is a Window of Opportunity to protect the inheritance you leave your children. When you are gone, it closes. Care enough about your children to plan their legacy that can not only take care of them but help them build wealth for their children. Our job is to help clients understand choices and to allow them to make well informed decisions.