Rule number 4: Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan
In addition to following Rules 1 through 3, discussed in prior blogs, the creation of a high quality, comprehensive estate plan with the assistance of an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney is essential.
Except for those with very modest estates, the best way to start such a plan is with a living trust-based estate plan. Through such planning, you can include such asset planning strategies as income tax savings, property tax savings and estate and gift tax savings.
The plan can protect assets from unnecessary legal fees and expenses by avoiding court proceedings in the event of your incapacity and after your death. In addition, a well drafted plan can preserve assets by preventing unwarranted challenges through the proper use of a No Contest Clause.
Such a plan will likely include provisions that can protect assets from the sometimes devastating costs of long term care.
Finally, a well constructed plan will afford asset protection feature for beneficiaries to protect their inheritances from creditors and predators … and sometimes themselves.
In addition to a living trust-based plan, depending on your circumstances, additional asset protection planning can be done through the implementation of advance planning strategies such as various irrevocable trusts and liability-limiting business entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs)and corporations.
Where to begin? With a consultation with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.