Asset Protection Attorney Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Many people are under the assumption that only wealthy people need to worry about asset protection. But the truth is that anyone in Florida who has worked hard and has any amount of assets needs to take the steps to safeguard those assets from circumstances that can arise and significantly impact your financial security. Issues with government agencies, creditors, and you or a family member’s health can suddenly wipe out everything you have saved over the years. To find out how you can protect yourself and your family from financial disaster, contact an asset protection attorney Ft. Lauderdale, FL families trust.
It is never too early to begin planning for the day when you may need to depend on Medicare for your medical needs, including nursing homes or assisted living costs. Failure to take the steps for Medicaid planning means your assets are vulnerable and could likely be taken to pay for expenses for long-term health care and nursing home residency. This could effectively wipe out the majority of your assets, leaving nothing for your children and beneficiaries.
While there are tools in place that can be used to protect your assets, there are also stringent laws in place that severely restrict Medicaid planning. There are different rules for the transfer of assets to spouses and to other members of the family. This is why it is critical to work with a Ft. Lauderdale, FL asset protection attorney.
• Transferring the home: One option to protecting your home is transferring it to your spouse, child, or another person by signing the deed over to them. By doing this, creditors will not be able to place a lien on the property. Neither will Medicaid.
• Irrevocable trust: Another asset protection tool that can be used to protect the family home is putting it into an irrevocable trust. This means you no longer own the home, however, you can still maintain complete control over it. The other benefit to placing your home in a trust is that there is no need to address it in your will and the home will not be part of any probate process. Whoever you leave the home to will become the owner upon your death.
• Life estate: A third option for protecting your home is a life estate. This still gives you control over the property and you can still live in the home. When you die, the property will go to whomever you designated as a beneficiary, again, without the need for a will and probate.
One of the biggest assets families have is their home. But with all of the potential issues that could arise and threaten ownership of your home, it is important to take the steps now to protect it before disaster strikes. All it takes is one major health crisis and you could be wiped out financially, with liens placed against your home – even with health insurance. Some of the options you may have included the following:
Another option you may have is gifting assets. The United States government allows individuals to give a certain amount each year tax-free. The amount does fluctuate. The current amount for 2021 is $15,000. If you and your spouse make the gift together, then the amount is doubled, so the current maximum gift amount you can give away in 2021 is $30,000.
Issues with Adult Children
There is another factor that sometimes plays a significant role in how and why a client needs to protect their assets and that has to do with issues involving their adult children. Think about it – you have worked hard all of your life and saved for your future and your family’s future. As you draw nearer retirement, you are content in knowing that you have saved a good-sized nest egg that will go to your adult children when you pass. However, as a Ft. Lauderdale, FL asset protection attorney knows, there are way too many cases where the inheritance of an adult child ends up being split in a divorce settlement because those assets were never protected.
When there have been no provisions for any asset protection, in most situations, the adult child will take the funds they inherit from their parent and deposit them right into the bank accounts they share with their spouse. Once this happens, those funds are no longer just the adult child’s, but under Florida law, they now become part of the marital estate. This means that if the couple divorce, the adult child’s spouse would be entitled to a share of those funds. What percentage would depend on what the divorce judge decides, however, in most cases, marital property is divided equally.
Another issue that a Ft. Lauderdale, FL asset protection attorney knows some parents worry about is when the adult child has a history of substance abuse or gambling addiction. In these situations, there is often the fair that inheriting any amount of money will only go towards feeding the addiction.
Sometimes the issue is as simple as the adult child just tends to make poor financial decisions or maybe they haven’t matured enough to so. Even a lack of money management skills can result in an inheritance being squandered away or attached by creditors.
No matter what the issue may be, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure that whatever inheritance you do leave to your children, there are stipulations put in place that specify how the funds can be distributed. There is even an option of adding a spendthrift clause to trust funds that can bar both current and future creditors from being able to seize or attach inherited funds. A Ft. Lauderdale, FL asset protection attorney has a variety of estate planning tools to work with that will protect your hard-earned assets from being used for anything other than what your wishes for them to be used for are.
Call Our Firm for Legal Assistance
To learn more about asset protection and how you can ensure your family will be taken care of when you are no longer here, contact Ft. Lauderdale, FL asset protection attorney Wayne Patton JD, LLC today to schedule a consultation.
Common Myths About Asset Protection
If you have any assets, you can benefit from asset protection. However, there are so many myths surrounding asset protection that might make you reluctant to use it. Here are some common misconceptions an asset protection attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, FL hears:
• I don’t have sufficient wealth to need asset protection. This is one of the most common myths about asset protection. Unlike popular belief, you don’t need to be significantly wealthy to require this protection. Even if you don’t have much equity in your home anymore, you still want to protect it from judgments. You worked hard to make your mortgage payments every month and should protect your investment.
• If I have insurance, I don’t need asset protection. Although insurance is an important thing to have, it might not fully protect all of your assets. After all, you don’t want to trust an insurance adjuster to decide if your claim should be paid. You worked too hard for your assets and want to protect them from economic devastation. If you invest in asset protection, you will have one more tool for protecting your property.
• I can put an asset protection strategy in place later. When it comes to asset protection, one of the worst things you can do is procrastinate. Far too many people don’t seek out asset protection strategies until after they receive a judgment against them. Unfortunately, it may be too late then. To ensure adequate protection, you should invest in asset protection as soon as possible.
• Asset protection is too expensive. Some people are reluctant to get asset protection because they assume it’s too costly. However, as an asset protection attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, FL can attest, it is a worthy investment. Although an asset protection strategy may cost thousands, it may help you save much more money in the long run.
• I might lose control of my assets with asset protection. Another reason why some people shy away from asset protection is because they believe they will lose control of their assets. This just isn’t true. Even with this plan, you still still have full control of your assets.
No one will target me for lawsuits. Unfortunately, nobody is safe from lawsuits. Even if you don’t think you have a very high net worth or have given anyone reason to sue you, it’s still possible. That’s why you should have an asset protection plan in place just in case.