"The manner in which you leave your property to your children determines how much asset protection they will have."
America is not only the land of opportunity, it is also a land of litigation. In our society today, the possibility that someone may take your assets away from you or your children is ever increasing—a divorce, lawsuit, or judgment can claim all or a portion.
Asset protection planning will bring to bear available tools to provide protection for your assets as they pass into the hands of your beneficiaries. Protection can be provided for your beneficiaries from future creditors, divorce, judgments, and even their own poor judgement. But, this protection has to be set up in advance to work and be aware that there is no perfect protection in this world.
If you're contemplating leaving your children's inheritance to them outright, ask yourself if it's possible that they might:
- Inherit the money too young and handle it foolishly
- Get divorced and lose half of their inheritance to a disgruntled spouse
- Start a business after being "downsized," end up bankrupt, and lose their inheritance
- Be involved in a serious accident which would put their inheritance at risk
- Acquire a serious illness that requires nursing home care
- Die prematurely
The manner in which you leave your property to your children determines how much asset protection they will have. This may be especially important if your children are doctors, lawyers, landlords, or business owners, as these professions are subject to a larger proportion of lawsuits. It is equally a sensitive concern if your children have a history of substance abuse or are in a bad marriage.
We are often asked if there is a way our clients can leave their legacy to their children without the son-in-law or daughter-in-law getting everything. The answer is: Yes, we do this quite frequently. Ask us for more information.
We help clients create lifetime trusts for their children, so their children will be protected from divorcing spouses, creditors, and lawsuits. It is a tremendous gift to your beneficiaries and one that passes your care and values to them in a meaningful way. This is one of the most sought after reasons why our clients utilize our asset-planning solutions.
"Your concerns, values and objectives will be the central theme of your overall estate plan."
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to create an estate plan is to address your worries and to pass on your values and beliefs. Clients often think that estate planning is just about how to divide their property after they pass away, or that estate planning is just about saving taxes, or that somehow all they need are the "documents to make sure that things are taken care of."
Good estate planning should include far more. Your concerns, values and objectives will be the central theme of your overall plan. A good estate plan will provide answers to your hardest questions, while leaving you in control of your property while you are alive.
Our clients agree that good estate planning is about:
- Maintaining control of your property while alive
- Taking care of you and your loved ones if you are disabled
- Getting what you have to whom you want, the way you want, and when you want
- Saving every last tax dollar, professional fee, and court cost legally possible
We strive to provide caring and attentive client service. We want our clients to know that we are here to take care of them.
Planning for Retirement Assets
"We will work with your advisors to provide sensible and practical options."
Retirement plans are sometimes the least understood and most neglected part of estate planning. Historically, parents often left their tax-deferred retirement accounts to their children outright—free from trust. In other words, they named their children as direct beneficiaries of these accounts.
This traditional method of dealing with retirement accounts often results in some unintended consequences. For example:
- A child, without the proper guidance of a trust, decides to cash in the retirement account and is subjected to massive and virtually immediate tax liabilities
- A child, without the proper guidance of a trust, loses out on decades of tax-deferred growth opportunities afforded to him by the IRS
- A child, without the added asset protection of a trust, loses the retirement account balance to divorce, creditors, or predators
- A child is a minor or is incapacitated at the time of the parent's death, resulting in the need for court involvement for this otherwise non-probate asset
These unintended consequences can be easily avoided by leaving your retirement account to your child (or grandchild) in a specialized IRA legacy trust—a trust that comports with all of the IRS requirements for your child to stretch out the tax-deferred growth in the retirement account over decades. This trust further provides your child with a degree of asset protection otherwise unavailable when a child is named as a direct beneficiary.
Protection from the Attorneys You Trust
We counsel our clients on ways to accomplish their goals, including:
- Leaving a philanthropic legacy
- Planning for the future of the family business
- Ensuring your children are raised by the guardian of your choice
- Implementing a disability plan that relies on more than just a general durable power of attorney
- Protecting children with special needs
- Medicaid qualification and application
- Avoiding disadvantages associated with probate
- Guaranteeing a surviving spouse continues to live their life securely
- Minimizing estate taxes
- Protecting a child's inheritance from those with negative intentions
- Maintaining a married couple’s plan, even if the surviving spouse remarries
- Protecting a surviving spouse if they become disabled
- Minimizing potential family conflicts regarding health care decisions and estate distributions
We work with clients to make their retirement plans part of their comprehensive estate plans. We will work with your advisors to provide sensible and practical options to optimize the transfer of these hard-earned assets.