WHAT IS ASSET PROTECTION?
The law is very simple. Whatever you have access to, so does your creditors and predators!
Asset protection trusts are created to protect assets from long-term care costs, creditors, predators (divorce, accidents, business failures, lawsuits etc). Asset protection also includes the protection of assets from one’s own poor decision making, or fear of not having the mental capacity to manage the assets you have accumulated. All of these are forms of asset protection planning.
If you want to protect your assets, you do not have to give up control. Most people confuse asset protection planning with estate planning. When planning to avoid estate taxes, you must give up 100% of your right to access your money, benefit from your money or change the beneficiary of your money.
The asset protection rules, however, are much less restrictive. You can control your assets, manage them, change who you want to receive them and even benefit from your assets (i.e. live in your home, after it is transferred to an asset protection trust, maintain the income of your assets, etc). Even with these retained rights, benefits and powers, your assets remain protected from your future predators, creditors and long-term care costs.
Long-term care costs requires an understanding of Medicaid laws. Medicaid is a state and federally funded program created to pay for the healthcare of the poor. There are also Veteran’s benefits available to help pay long-term care costs if you served in the military during World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf war. Protection your assets to ensure Medicaid or Veteran’s benefits eligibility to help pay your long term care costs is a higher standard than general asset protection.
With general asset protection, once you give up the right to your assets, it is protected from all future creditors and predators. The rights you retained (i.e., income) however will not be protected. But, with Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits, if you give up your assets there are additional strings attached for a period of time to ensure there was no ‘scheme’ to give away your assets and have these government funded programs pay for your long-term care costs.
In most cases, Medicaid will consider all assets in that trust as “available to pay for your care” but with proper planning, you can protect your assets from long term care costs and remain eligible for Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits.
Don’t be confused, get informed, we provide complimentary workshops on the distinctions between asset protection, Medicaid, Veteran’s benefits, and estate planning so you can be properly informed on these very important issues.
Contact us today for a personal meeting about your specific needs and goals.