Estate planning involves potent strategies to safeguard many of the assets you’ve worked hard to build However, to be effective, asset protection needs to be done in advance and with an understanding of the individual’s other estate planning tools. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced asset protection lawyer to help put together your plan.

The experienced attorneys at Pierro, Connor & Strauss can create customized plans to hold or preserve assets during your lifetime, whether for your personal benefit or the benefit of your future heirs.

Depending on your goals, a “Trust” can be customized to protect property, financial assets and even business holdings. Major reasons to seek asset protection include planning to avoiding probate and to qualify for long-term care benefits. Trusts can also insulate assets from third parties who may have claims against them or from the potential impacts of a divorce, in order to keep assets in the bloodline.

Who needs to think about asset protection?

Most people could be exposed to some situations where asset protection planning might be beneficial. For example, consumer debt can lead to a judgment that puts an individual’s home in jeopardy. Certain individuals, though, are at higher risk of being targeted by claimants. People who may benefit from protection planning include:

  • Doctors, lawyers, real estate investors, and those who work in other fields that carry the risk of significant potential liability may find that insurance is not enough to cover a large judgment
  • Business owners and corporate officers and directors may find themselves personally liable for debts of the organization despite corporate structures that limit liability
  • Couples who would like to insulate certain assets for their children or determine their financial relationship by contract instead of the state’s usual rules of equitable division in the case of divorce can provide for those preferences with asset protection strategies
  • Individuals who may need long-term care covered by Medicaid can run into eligibility problems if their assets are over the qualification limit

Asset protection may not come to mind until it is too late to start. Rather than being caught off-guard, speak with an attorney about options for preserving your assets before they become endangered.

Louis W. Pierro
Aaron E. Connor
Caryn B. Keppler
Anthony K. Khatchoui
Frank E. Hemming III
Hanna R. Dameron
Kristen A. Peck

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When to start asset protection planning

Asset protection planning is best done well before there is a problem. If you wait until you have a medical diagnosis or other health change, planning can still be done but may be more narrow in options.

In addition, if there is a creditor’s claim or litigation against you, asset protection planning will likely not be as effective..

Another reason to plan early is to ensure that your estate plan and asset protection plan can work together. For example, if you move assets to a trust for asset protection, your will or other estate planning documents must take that into account.

Asset protection plans can involve tools that protect privacy without changing ownership of property and funds, as well as tools that require transferring ownership of assets in ways that is complex to undo. These changes can also have an impact on tax planning – in many cases a positive one – and therefore need to be made with long-term estate plans in mind.

Tools for Asset Protection in New York

Asset protection, like estate planning, is influenced by state legislation. If you are a New Yorker, it pays to choose a New York asset protection planning attorney who is well-versed in local laws.

Some methods of protection include:

  • Revocable asset protection trusts
  • Medicaid asset protection trusts
  • Family limited partnerships
  • Special needs trusts
  • Dynasty trusts
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Carefully drafted estate planning tools

The asset protection structures available depend on certain factors, including where you live. It is important to choose an asset protection and estate planning lawyer who understands your goals and is experienced in the state where your assets are located.

Asset protection is highly individualized. Your asset protection attorney can help you decide what plans should be in place to best suit your needs and determine what other parts of your estate and tax plans need to be coordinated. Thoughtful and informed plans will make your trust or other planning tools more beneficial to you now and reduce or eliminate complications later when it comes time to distribute your estate.

Talk to an asset protection lawyer in New York

Asset protection planning can prevent financial trouble down the road, but it needs to be done properly. At Pierro, Connor & Strauss, we take a holistic approach, considering your goals, estate plans, and tax situation to come up with solutions that work for you and your family.

You have worked hard for what you have, and we help you protect it for your future and the family and community whom you may wish it to benefit. To speak with an experienced Albany asset protection attorney or to have a New York City estate planning lawyer review your will or trust for asset protection purposes, call today to schedule your free consultation.

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Contact us today for a FREE consultation and we’ll be happy to help take the worry out of tomorrow so you can live today.

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