More than 60% of Americans don’t have a will or trust in place to protect their assets. While these aren’t the only ways to protect your assets, it’s telling how many people neglect this important task.
Assets can include businesses, property, valuable items, and bank accounts. Having these things opens you up to many liabilities.
It’s important to have a plan in place to in case something happens to you or if someone tries to take those assets from you through a lawsuit. Asset Protection is generally an easy process, but there can be some confusing elements.
Read on to learn what to do and what to avoid when setting up your protection plan.
Ways to Protect Your Assets
There are a lot of great benefits to owning assets. But they also come with some risk, and you can lose them in a lawsuit.
Though there are many ways to protect those assets, some are more helpful to follow than others. Here are our top suggestions.
Use a Lawyer
The first thing to do when working on getting your assets in order and protected is to work with an attorney.
An asset protection attorney will have a clear understanding of the vulnerabilities and potential issues you face in your specific situation. This knowledge helps them coach you through the process and get the best result possible.
There are ways that you can implement some asset protection strategies without using a lawyer. But it’s not recommended because it will likely still leave you vulnerable.
The technicalities of law make it almost impossible for assets to be fully covered and protected. Take out the specialized training that these lawyers have, and your things are even more at risk.
When you work with a lawyer, they can walk you through all of your options. Those will include trusts, wills, other estate planning avenues, LLCs, or pre-marital agreements.
Not every person with assets will need the same kinds of protection. Even those with the same kinds of assets will need a customized plan. Using a lawyer is the best way to get the fullest coverage and not miss any holes.
The best way to protect your assets is to work with a trained professional.
Make Plans Ahead of Time
The one thing about protecting assets that is universal across the board is that you need to have your affairs in order before a situation arises.
You can’t work to protect your assets after a lawsuit has been filed against you, after a partnership dissolves, or after you’ve died. You have to do it beforehand.
It’s too late once someone is coming after your assets. The work needs to be done long before a crisis strikes to make sure you are covered.
Last-minute efforts to protect assets often cause more problems than help and can leave you with less than if you did nothing. Professionals advise getting things in order as soon as you can.
As soon as you come to own a business, enter a partnership (whether professional or personal), or gain some property, you need to speak to a lawyer.
By planning, you eliminate a significant portion of the risk that comes from having such assets.
It can be easy to overlook some of our assets, but it’s critical to make sure everything you own has a protection plan.
When you get sued or a partnership breaks up, the other party will be looking for your vulnerabilities. They’ll likely have a team that will have the knowledge needed to find your weak points and get what assets they’re seeking.
When you’re creating these asset protection plans, you need to think like a creditor. What do you have that has value to someone else?
Things to Avoid in Asset Protection
Since there are so many legal aspects to protecting your assets, it can be a tricky thing to make sure you follow the technical rules just right.
Many people make a lot of mistakes when trying to protect their assets. Do your best to avoid these two things to ensure your assets are safe and secure.
Not Updating Plans
Unfortunately, creating an asset protection plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, as we’ve mentioned. But it’s also not a one and done situation either.
Many people set up their wills or trusts and call it good. They never resist the plans that they’ve made, and when it comes time to use them, they’re outdated and don’t reflect the owner’s real wishes for the assets.
Every person who owns any kind of asset should take the time to make protection plans. And that should be done every time you acquire new assets.
You should regularly review your planning to check for changes in assets, the laws surrounding fraud or creditor protection, or desired beneficiaries. These are all common reasons that an asset protection plan would need to be modified.
Forgetting to regularly review your plans can make them ineffective and cause you to lose the assets you were trying to protect.
Skipping Full Coverage
Generally, one kind of coverage might not be enough to make sure you’ll never lose your assets. This is another reason that working with a trained attorney is the best course of action.
The attorney will be able to show you the multiple options for protecting your assets.
With so many ways that you can have issues, it’s helpful to have multiple forms of protection.
Get Started Protecting Your Assets
Assets are often a sign of our hard work and dedication, which is why it’s so essential for you to do what you can to keep them.
Setting up an asset protection plan will give you the confidence to know that what you’ve worked so hard for won’t be taken away from you. These simple tasks can make a world of difference if things go wrong down the road.
There are many reasons why someone could come after your assets. If you’d like to talk to a trained professional about how you can protect what’s yours, then contact us today!