Safeguarding Your Green this St. Patrick’s Day

March 13, 2019

Did you know that 32 million Americans come from Irish descent? March 17th marks St. Patrick’s Day; a celebration of St. Patrick, the priest who introduced Christianity to Ireland and Irish culture. Such celebrations come with a price-tag, as holiday spending increases annually. This year, with St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday, the participants will have even more opportunity to splurge on the festivities.

To commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, here are some fun facts about the holiday:

  • People spend an average of $40.00 on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • A typical picture of a pot of gold has an estimated market value of $1.3 million (it usually shows 1,000 one-ounce gold coins).
  • 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide.
  • 4.2 drinks are consumed per person.
  • $5.6 billion is usually spent on worldwide St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
  • Cabbage shipments increase 70% around the time of St. Patrick’s Day (to help create corned beef and cabbage, a customary St. Patrick’s Day dish).

The numbers clearly relay the message that cultural celebrations are carving a deeper niche in our hearts and our wallets. In order to afford such retail therapy, hard-earned assets need to be nurtured and protected. In the realm of estate planning, asset protection is a crucial topic that needs to be addressed. So, what can asset protection do for you?

First, asset protection is a big phrase which simply means structuring your assets – your house, your investments, your cash, your life insurance policies, your business, 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.

The Avenues of Asset Protection:

Through Florida law, the most important law that protects your primary real estate 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 law can also protect your business entities. Anyone can create a business online. But you need an asset protection attorney to spot the future pitfalls. We 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.

Speaking of your business, business succession planning helps you EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. You toiled for years to make your business a success. Grow it, sell it. Build an empire for your family. Pass it on to your children. You may want it to continue even after you 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.

There are other areas of asset protection that we also advise on:

  • Tenants by the Entirety (“TBE”) – property jointly owned by married couples
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Qualified Retirement Plans and IRAs
  • 529 Plans & College Savings Plans
  • Medicaid Planning

The Irish say, “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.” This applies to your assets. By ensuring their protection and letting them grow, your assets can help build your estate into a legacy for future generations of your family to enjoy. We can toast a pint to that.

Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or to get started with your free consultation. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.