You have worked your entire life accumulating assets. These hard earned achievements can be lost in a short period of time if they are not protected. If you are sued, all of your assets are at risk. They are also at risk if you file for bankruptcy. Seeing as the best thing to do is to protect those assets, lawmakers have passed various acts that will protect certain assets.
Regardless of what you read in asset protection blogs, many people believe only the wealthy are targets. This is far from the truth. No matter how many assets you have, whether your IRA & retirement plan investing account is $ 10M or $ 200,000, you are a target as long as you own those assets in your name. There are many legal circumstances that can place your assets at risk. Civil lawsuits and divorce can be perfect examples of where people lose their unprotected assets. No matter how safe you think you are from being sued, it is almost always best to take extra precaution. This is why asset protection is so important. It will help you safeguard those assets if there ever is a time where a lawsuit is filed on you.
There are various state and federal laws that determine what type of protection many of your assets can have from judgments and creditors. For example, your Traditional and Roth IRAs have a protection cap of $ 1 million from any bankruptcy proceeding. Any money that has been rolled over from other retirement accounts, such as 403(b) and 457(b) plans, are completely protected by law. It is important to remember that this protection is only in effect during a bankruptcy proceeding. They will not be protected from other court judgments.
In addition to IRA accounts, qualified retirement plans are also protected by law during bankruptcy. ERISA plans are also protected, so an ERISA asset protection retirement plan is not needed if you are going into bankruptcy.
Consider your large assets, such as your home. The amount of protection on your home can vary depending on what state you reside in. There are some states that offer limited legal protection, while other states will not provide any protection at all. Again, this is why it is imperative that you have an asset protection plan in effect. If the state and federal laws do not offer protection, you will already have a plan in place that will protect all of your assets.
State laws will determine how much protection is given for life insurance and annuities. In some cases, the cash surrender value of the life insurance policy will be protected. However, this does not always happen. In other cases, the only protection is for the beneficiary’s interest. Again, there are many states that offer no asset protection at all. If you need to know what laws are in place to protect your assets, check with your state’s official website to find out what protection is offered.
Just because there are laws in place, this does not mean that you will be safe from creditors during a lawsuit. No matter what kind of protection is offered by your state, it is always best to consult with an expert on asset protection planning such as Estate Street Partners. This is the only way you will be sure that your assets are protected, regardless of the type of legal proceeding.
Too many people rely on just the protection offered by their state. This often leads to a disastrous outcome. These people usually end up losing most, if not all of their assets. There are many strategies that are effective when planning for asset protection. Proper planning can actually deter creditors from attacking your estate and may save you from your assets from being lost. Proper asset protection planning may even save you from a lawsuit being filed in the first place. What contingent lawyer will take a case if he cannot find assets in your name when he does an asset search? None.
Learn how to protect your assets from potential frivolous lawsuits, preserve your wealth by recapturing lost tax dollars, defer capital gains taxes, eliminate inheritance taxes, reduce taxes on your income streams, eliminate probate and estate taxes. You will receive tax efficient wealth transfers to your next generation. We will utilize means of domestic LLCs and international offshore tax haven strategies and customize our program to meet your highest yield expectations and more. Contact us today if you have any questions. Rocco Beatrice, CPA, MST, MBA, CWPP, CMMB, CAPP, BSBA
Asset Protection: Estate Planning
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