Estate Planning / Asset Protection
Our firm counsels businesses in a variety of planning and transactional issues, in addition to managing estate matters for individual clients. Successful people devote a great deal of time to building a solid financial foundation, and they rightfully wish to protect it for their own golden years and for future generations. Every estate plan requires a careful analysis of the family’s unique dynamics, assets, debts, property, business succession planning, beneficiary designations and a discussion of short-term and long-term goals, in order to create an optimal strategy to secure the client’s legacy and to protect the future of his or her family.
It’s a common misconception that only ultra-high net-worth individuals need to be concerned about estate planning and/or protecting their assets. The truth is that most responsible people should consider it, and especially those who own a business or property, act as a fiduciary, have been previously married, concerned about a potential conflict between heirs, guardianship of minor children, or actively involved in charity. Probate avoidance, of course, is an important consideration as well.
The arsenal of estate planning contains many instruments: Last Will and Testament, Creation of Joint Tenancies With Rights of Survivorship, Revocable Living Trust, Irrevocable Trust, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Dynasty Trusts, Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements, to name just a few. We recommend that you review your estate plan at least every few years and preferably even annually, to make sure that it’s up-to-date and meets your current needs.
Insofar as the asset protection, Florida has some of the best, most generous laws in all of the U.S. There are many tools and tactics available to shield your hard-earned wealth from creditors, current and former spouses, avaricious relatives or many other eventualities abundant in today’s wealth-obsessed, litigious society. Proper asset protection is not about hiding assets, but titling them in a way that would insulate them from claims by prospective creditors. A very important caveat is that planning must be done well in advance, similarly to acquiring an insurance policy. Any move to protect the asset after a lawsuit against you is commenced, is likely to violate Florida’s Fraudulent Transfers Statute. Protecting your assets may require time and resources, but it may also be your most important investment.