When the estate planning lawyers talk about asset protection, they are talking about tools and strategies that can help you keep as much of your money as possible in the face of those who are seeking to take it. Essentially, in one context, this means protecting your assets from anyone who wants to file a lawsuit against you.
Asset protection and estate planning go hand-in-hand because they both focus on what you own, and what you want to happen to it in the future. Though there are many estate planning options available, you and your attorney will have to discuss your situation to come to a determination on what specific tools you will need to use. In the meantime, there are several ways to determine if asset protection is likely something you will need to include in your estate plan.
Do you have a lot of wealth?
If you have a lot of valuable assets or are financially well-off, asset protection is a very good idea. People with a lot of money are more likely to face lawsuits than those with more moderate wealth. Asset protection is essential if you are wealthy, know that you will receive a large inheritance, or are on a path to be wealthy in the future.
Do you work in a litigious profession?
People in some jobs or industries are much more prone to being sued than other workers. Professionals, such as attorneys, physicians, and engineers, should have a good asset protection plan in place. Workers in health care and construction related industries might also want to investigate the possibility of developing asset protection tools. If you’re a business owner, separating your personal assets from business assets is also essential.
Protecting your assets, even when beginning your professional career, can not only ensure that your property will be protected, but it can also allow you peace of mind in knowing that should something occur, you’ll have the proper plan in place.
Are you a business owner?
Even if you are not in a litigious industry, people who own their own businesses should create an asset protection plan. If you don’t have the proper business structure in place, your personal assets could be fair game for those who sue your company. Separating yourself, your business, and your personal assets is essential if you want to protect your possessions.
Is asset protection something you worry about?
Lawsuits can occur at any time. Even if you don’t fall into any of the above categories, a simple asset protection plan can be a lifesaver should a bad situation arise. If you are beginning the estate planning process, be sure to ask an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney about asset protection and whether it’s right for you.