Senior couple having meeting with financial advisor or insurance agent at home.

Estate and asset protection planning avoids many problems, such as unnecessary legal and court fees, guardianship, conservatorship, loss of assets to long term care, taxes, loss of assets to in-laws, and family disputes. 

These are a few things you will avoid with a good comprehensive estate and asset protection plan, which usually consists of a variety of legal instruments. 

If properly drawn with care and advice is followed, then all of the above problems can be avoided so everything is administered privately with no unnecessary problems. In many cases, we can protect your assets (your home) from creditors and also avoid issues for your loved ones who may inherit. 

In all cases, we seek to avoid or defer taxes.

Unlike insurance, which often goes unused, with estate planning, we can be certain that at some time, these papers will be there to protect you and to advance your interests – to avoid court involvement, to avoid family conflict, and to leave assets to your loved ones as you direct, to avoid taxes and to keep it in your family.  

The documents usually consist of powers of attorney, will and trust, deeds, updating beneficiary designations, and making sure title on your assets is optimal to accomplish your goals. 

The process usually takes three in-person meetings and one teleconference. This permits time to provide guidance and counsel regarding decisions and options, and is a good way to do it.

Let’s say Jack and Jill, who recently moved here and are in a second marriage, have a son together named Bob; Jill has a son from a prior marriage named Kevin. 

Jill wants to make sure Bob and Kevin will get equal shares and that if either son gets divorced or sued, they won’t lose their inheritance. She wants to make sure assets stay in the bloodlines. 

So, what should Jack and Jill do? They should get a comprehensive estate and asset protection plan and direct assets, when they are both gone, to go into trusts for Kevin and Bob in equal shares. They should agree not to change the ultimate distribution of their property. 

In several meetings, all of these goals – and peace of mind – can be accomplished.  

 Mark F. Winn, J.D., Master of Laws (LL.M.) in estate planning, is a local asset protection, estate and elder law planning attorney.