A comprehensive estate plan includes many considerations to ensure that your family members are protected. A critical part of any strategic plan should include forecasting how your assets can best be protected should your economic situation change dramatically.
Daniel W. Uhlfelder is a Santa Rosa Beach asset protection lawyer who will work with you to help you find a solution to meet the need of your situation. Our Northwest Florida law firm will work with you to develop a plan that provides you with all the necessary components.
Your asset protection plan will take into consideration your answers to the following questions:
Do I Have Adequate Insurance Coverage?
A review of your liability insurance coverage is an important first step in your asset protection planning. You will want to review your plans to make sure that you are carrying a sufficient policy that will cover any likely claims against you.
Can My Assets Be Protected From Creditors?
Many people assume that if they transfer their assets, that potential creditors will not be able to gain access to the asset. Asset protection does not mean hiding assets or making fraudulent transfers. Generally speaking, you will not be able to transfer assets once a creditor has a claim – or the potential for a claim – against your assets. If the transfer has the appearance of trying to defraud a creditor, a court will likely undo or reverse the transfer.
The following assets are generally protected from creditor claims:
- Homestead property (including up to half an acre of property within city limits or up to 160 contiguous acres outside of the city limits)
- Life insurance
- Qualified retirement plans and IRAs
- Select college savings plans
While Florida law may help protect the above assets from creditors, these assets may not be exempt from government claims, mortgages or mechanic's liens. In addition, the protections available to you in a bankruptcy proceeding will be different and depend on your situation.
Can Asset Protection Affect My Eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid?
In situations involving eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, there are specific "look back" periods. This means that any transfers that occur a certain amount of time prior to your application for federal health care benefits will be considered and used to determine your eligibility for benefits. This is just one of the reasons it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Destin estate planning law firm if you are planning to transfer assets.
How Often Should I Review My Overall Estate Plan?
One of the most important things to remember doing estate planning is to treat your plan as something that changes over time. While the initial development of the plan can take some time to complete, you should also review your plan each year. Some reasons to review your plan on an annual basis include:
- Taking advantage of or making corrections because of changes in the law
- If you move to a different state, making sure your plan complies with the state laws in your new home
- Opportunity to make adjustments to your plan based on changes in your family situation, including births, deaths, marriages or divorces.
Answer Your Questions With Confidence and Call an Experienced Destin Asset Planning Lawyer
Asset protection is just one part of your larger estate plan. Contact our Santa Rosa Beach asset planning attorney today to schedule a free initial consultation. Together we can work to find options to protect your rights and future.
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