Longstreet Elder Law & Estate Planning, P.C. helps clients protect their assets by developing retirement and estate plan that keeps their property safe. An asset protection plan is an important element of an estate plan. Individuals who do not take steps now to protect their assets may jeopardize their own financial security and lose the inheritance they intended to leave for their children.
Four Questions You Need to Ask Yourself About Asset Protection
- What is the size of your estate?
If you have a large estate, your heirs may be required to pay estate taxes. Estate taxes could substantially reduce the value of your estate for your heirs. There are several estate planning tools that you can use to reduce the value of your taxable estate while protecting your assets from creditors and Medicaid recovery.
- Do you have a business succession plan?
If you own a business, it is crucial that you have a business succession plan in place. A business succession plan can make it easier for your heirs to transfer operations of the business to another person if you become incapacitated. When you die, your business succession plan can also make it easier for your heirs to sell or transfer the business. In some cases, you may want to have the business interest transfer to a trust to be administered for asset protection.
- Do you have a plan for incapacity?
Many people overlook the need to plan for incapacity. They may have an estate plan, but they fail to take steps to ensure that they can avoid the need for a guardian or conservator. They do not utilize tools such as a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Directive, or a Living Will to ensure their wishes are carried out if they become incapacitated. Without documents in place that appoints someone to handle your financial matters, make health care decisions, and provide personal care, the court will appoint someone to make these decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
- Do you have a long-term care plan in place?
Even if you are not totally incapacitated, you may need long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Skilled nursing or assisted living facilities are expensive. The average nursing home charges between $8,000 and $12,000 per month for care. Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care. Therefore, many people turn to Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.
However, Medicaid has financial requirements to qualify for coverage. Depending on your financial situation, you may not qualify for Medicaid or Medicaid may place a lien on your assets to recoup its payments once you pass away. Your spouse or heirs could have nothing if Medicaid seizes property after your death.
Our office can help you develop an asset protection plan that helps you qualify for Medicaid while protecting your assets.
It is never too early to begin planning for your future. Regardless of your age or financial situation, we urge you to consult with our office.