Asset Protection Comes in a Variety of Forms
Asset protection is a common estate planning objective. For the most part, protecting one’s assets during life is often accomplished through planning to qualify for Medicaid. If we see that Medicaid planning may be advisable in the future, we often provide that the Attorney in Fact (the Agent under a Power of Attorney) has the authority to make gifts. The extent of the gift giving authority is something we need to address in each particular circumstance. If there is no power to make gifts in the General Power of Attorney and the Principal becomes disabled, then planning for Medicaid is basically foreclosed. This is something that ought to be looked at closely in every case.
In addition to the above, everyone ought to have an umbrella policy in the neighborhood of 1 to 2 million dollars of coverage. These policies are quite affordable and should be looked into by everyone who is interested in protecting their assets.
Finally, leaving assets to family in trust can be tremendously beneficial. If done correctly, the assets you leave to your family can be protected from frivolous spending, claims of creditors, and equitable distribution in divorce proceedings.
Mark F. Winn
Attorney at Law, PLLC