Asset protection is a big phrase which simply means structuring your assets – your house, your investments, your cash, your businesses, in a way which makes it more difficult for a creditor to touch those assets. Asset protection planning is a perfectly legal process based on several legal sources. This includes the Florida Constitution, Florida’s excellent homestead protection laws, and Federal common law traditions.
Asset protection is not just for the super-wealthy because anyone can get sued. Lawsuits arise from car accidents, credit card debt, a leaky faucet flooding your neighbor’s apartment, someone getting hurt in your home, etc. We can spot the liabilities that lurk ahead for you, your family, and your business. Sometimes the simplest tactics work. Other times, we will need a few layers of asset protection to protect your wealth. Below are the most common asset protection strategies our asset protection lawyers employ. We keep it simple and help keep money in your pocket.
Florida Homestead Property – the most important Florida law that protects your real property is the homestead exemption. If registered properly with the county, Florida exempts your home from the reach of creditors. Florida also protects property owned jointly by a husband and wife from the creditors of either spouse.
Florida Business Entities – anyone can create a business online. But you really need an asset protection attorney to spot the future pitfalls. OC Estate & Elder Law can help you choose the right Florida business entity for your needs, submit the required Florida documents, create an internal operating agreement and so much more.
Irrevocable Trusts are great long-term asset protection tools that transfer money out of your name by assigning someone you trust to manage the money. The person creating the Trust (“Grantor”) places certain assets into the Trust and designates who will manage them (“Trustee”). The Trustee can be almost anyone other than your spouse. The assets are then managed according to the Grantor’s terms. The assets placed into an Irrevocable Trust are generally protected so long as the Grantor is not a direct beneficiary of the Trust.
One such type of Irrevocable Trusts are Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts. Our asset protection attorneys employ legal methods that help transfer your assets intelligently so that you may qualify for Medicaid benefits later in life. This falls under the broad scope of elder care asset protection.
Business Succession Planning
You toiled for years to make your business a success. You probably have clear goals for your business. Grow it, sell it. Build an empire for your family. Pass it on to your children. You may want it to continue even after they are no longer a part of it. Ever think about the effect of unforeseen divorce on business succession or the death of a business partner? Let’s face it – if your business partner passes away, you probably don’t want to partner up with their spouse. This is exactly what happens without the proper business planning. We can assist with choosing a successor for you and your business partners. This clears up any ambiguity and keeps the business running smoothly in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Business succession planning helps you organize these ideas and more importantly, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. We’ve seen it all and it is not pretty. Protect the legacy you have built by consulting with us for your business estate planning needs.
Insurance is a crucial and affordable tactic that every individual or business professional should take advantage of. If you or a patron to your business gets injured, insurance can cover the medical expenses. If you get sued, insurance can cover your legal defense costs, whether you win or lose. We can spot future dangers that are a liability to your business. Whether it is automobile, life, long-term care, disability, malpractice, landlord/tenant, or business liability insurance, we will put you in touch with an insurance professional who can help.
Other Asset Protection Strategies
- Tenants by the Entirety (“TBE”) – property jointly owned by married couples
- Properly formed Floridian business entities
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Qualified Retirement Plans and IRAs
- 529 Plans & College Savings Plans
- Living trust asset protection
We understand family run businesses.
That is why we custom tailor asset protection planning to meet your family’s individual needs. This not only protects the family inheritance from current or future creditors, but also minimizes disagreements between beneficiaries. Whether you are a startup, existing small business owner, international investor, or just someone seeking advice, we are here to help you reach an ideal solution.