Author: John Holliman, JD
Asset protection is a state-of-mind and a way of life. Many people fail to appreciate this, and end up seeing their family home, life insurance policy, IRA, 401k or other valuable assets lost or seriously diminished simply because they don’t know how to protect those assets.
To develop this state-of-mind requires awareness that life happens and unexpected circumstances can jeopardize your nest egg. To protect your assets, you need the help of an estate attorney. There is simply too much special knowledge and too many precise legal requirements involved.
The bottom line is that if you want to rest assured that your assets are legally protected, you need an estate attorney to assist you. We are here to help. Just call us at (205) 663-0281 to schedule a consultation. Or, click here More About Asset Protection.
Here are two examples of people with the best intentions who lost an important asset because they didn’t have what we call the asset protection state-of-mind.
Property that is Co-Owned
A CPA and his girlfriend lived together for decades without getting married. They purchased a home together and stipulated in the real estate documents that they were tenants in common, thinking that this meant if one of them died; the other would get the house. Unfortunately, they were mistaken, and when she passed away without either of them having made wills, her interest in the house went to her brother during probate. The end result was that the CPA was forced to leave his beloved home. If they had received the proper advice and made a joint tenancy, or created an appropriate trust, then he would have received her interest in the property, as she intended, and remained in his home.
Property that is Passed on to Heirs
A widower made certain he named his kids as beneficiaries of his IRA and other assets before he entered a nursing home. When a glitch occurred in the widower’s Medicaid payments to the nursing home, the nursing home billed the widower’s next of kin, his eldest son, for the outstanding amount. The surprised son wanted to investigate why the Medicaid payments to the nursing home had stopped before he made any payments himself, but while he dealt with the government bureaucracy, the nursing home took matters into its own hands. In fact, the nursing home went to go to court and obtained guardianship over the widower’s assets, which it used to pay its outstanding bills and hefty attorney fees. This process drained all of the assets from the widower’s estate, effectively denying his heirs their inheritances. If the widower and his son had received good professional advice, it is highly unlikely the nursing home would have been able to obtain a guardianship, and protection would have been in place to prevent the Medicaid glitch causing such a big problem in the first place.
Asset protection requires an awareness of its importance combined with experienced professional advice. If protecting your assets and avoiding the unfortunate circumstance described here is important to you, contact us at (205) 663-0281 to schedule a consultation. Or, click here More About Asset Protection to visit our website to find out more about asset protection.