As a Brandon Will and Trust attorney, I often meet with people who want to get their end-of-life affairs in order, which is known as estate planning. An experienced lawyer draws up important documents, such as powers of attorneys and medical directives, and helps develop a plan for how an individual’s property will be distributed upon death.
However, estate planning attorneys also recognize the need to protect one’s assets during his or her lifetime. This is important to the individual’s quality of life, and it also helps ensure that there is property that can eventually be left behind. This is called asset protection planning, and it is about choosing the best strategies to minimize the potential negative consequences of liability. In other words, asset protection planning shields you from claims made against yourself and your assets, such as property damage or physical harm against a person that was caused by you or your business.
Usually, just about everything a person owns is put at risk if a claim is made against an individual or their property. A judgment against you in a court of law, for example, can give your creditors the ability to go after your assets so they may be compensated for damages. This is an unpleasant, eye-opening experience for small business owners who discover that their personal assets – which have nothing to do with the business – are at risk if someone was injured in their place of business.
Estate planning focuses heavily on Last Wills and Testaments and Revocable Living Trusts to distribute assets after death – however, there are advantages to using these tools during your lifetime, too. Certain types of trusts can be especially helpful in keeping your assets out of harm’s way, which is why working with an experienced Brandon will and trust attorney is such an important part of a solid asset protection strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about estate planning and asset protection strategies, or if you want to review your current plans to make sure your assets are properly shielded and your estate plan is up to date, please call us at (813) 438-8503 to set up an initial consultation.