Smart estate planning addresses all aspects of your life, from naming guardians for minor children to deciding who will get a share of the assets you leave behind. As you get older and retire, you should also consider creating an elder law plan to ensure that your needs will be met if you or your spouse becomes incapacitated in some way. At Legacy Lawyers, we focus on you and your needs as we help you with these plans. However, another important part of estate planning and elder law is ensuring that your assets and property are secured for future generations. A central part of the work we do for our clients is asset protection.
Estate Planning Is for You. Asset Protection Is for Your Property
Unfortunately, as soon as you are no longer able to make your own decisions—whether due to illness and incapacitation or death—people will come after your assets and property. A comprehensive estate plan, coupled with smart elder law planning, will protect your assets from these creditors and predators. Legacy Lawyers offers trust-based planning that will safeguard your savings, homes, cars, retirement accounts, and other valuable assets from:
- Nursing homes. If you or your spouse should require care in a nursing home, you will be required to pay as much as you can toward the cost until your assets are gone. At that point, you can qualify for Medicaid to pay for care, but you will have nothing left to bequeath to family. Our asset protection tools will allow you to keep your home, savings, and other assets and still be able to pay for the nursing home care you need.
- Creditors. If you owe money at the time of your death, creditors can come after your estate. However, when your estate plan has anticipated this possibility, your assets can be protected from creditors.
- Lawsuits. Many people think only doctors and executives have to worry about being sued, but ordinary people are sued in civil court every day. Were you involved in a car accident? Did someone slip and fall on your property? Do you have a debt that has been sent to a debt collector? Any of these people could file suit against you or your estate unless you have protected your assets from this possibility.
- Ex-spouses. Even if you have been divorced for many years, an ex-spouse could still have a claim on your home or other assets after your death. Part of your estate plan should address these issues and tie up any loose ends left behind after a divorce.
- Irresponsible adult children. You want to leave money to your adult children, but you worry about whether they will be ready to use the money responsibly when they get it. A thoughtfully crafted trust can hold money for adult children and only distribute it if certain conditions are met.
- Court costs. If you only have a simple will—or have no will at all—your estate will go to probate after your death, costing your beneficiaries valuable time and a portion of their inheritance in court costs. Trust-based estate planning can avoid probate for most of your assets.
- Taxes. Estates can be subjected to high tax rates, but certain trusts and asset distribution strategies can protect your hard-earned savings from being taxed before your beneficiaries can inherit.
Protecting your assets from these potential threats involves estate planning with a skilled attorney who will take the time to fully evaluate your assets, assess your unique situation, help you understand the wealth-protection options available to you in North Carolina, and implement the best possible plan to safeguard your legacy.
Our Asset Protection Team Will Work Hard for You
John J. Peck, Attorney & Counsellor at Law, has practiced law in North Carolina for nearly 40 years. His approach to asset protection is unmatched across the state. We provide free consultations to discuss your goals. Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (910) 452-3577. From our office in Wilmington, we help families across the state of North Carolina, and we are ready to work for you!