What if I Don’t Protect My Assets?
When people set up wills or trusts to protect their assets, it is to ensure their assets go where they want them to go. If you do not make plans in advance to protect your assets, you risk not having any say where they go. It will be left to the state to distribute your assets through a process called probate. In fact, not protecting your assets can have an impact on a number of areas of life, way before you are thinking about end-of-life planning. It can impact how you pay for long-term care, how your family pays for your care, what you stand to lose in litigation, and other areas.
After someone dies, their estate, if unprotected, enters probate. Probate is the court-supervised process in which the decedent’s assets are distributed to pay taxes, bill collectors, and heirs. While it is court-supervised, the court usually do not get too involved, unless there is fighting over the estate amongst family, or if creditors are not paid. Florida is 1 of 16 states which have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). The UPC streamlines the process, making it simpler, and gives a personal representative more flexibility.
If you know that a loved one is going to pass away and they have not made plans to protect their assets, making a list of their unpaid bills before probate can be helpful. This could include mortgage payments, personal loans, student loans, utilities, and taxes. It is important to make sure any debts you are monitoring are valid and to let the creditor know that the person has died.
Protecting your assets is not just for end of life planning. You can also make moves to protect them from Medicaid or lawsuits. As we age, we may reach a point where we are unable to take care of ourselves. Medicaid can help lessen the burden on your assets and your family, should it be an option to cover the cost of your care. You must not exceed the asset and income maximums. If you have not protected your assets, they will be going toward your care.
Depending on your situation, this may not be how you would like your assets to be used. If you have protected your assets with, for example, a trust, you will be able to qualify for Medicaid and keep your assets. This gives you control over how you would like them to be distributed and spent.
Preparing for the future is a worthwhile investment. For instance, nursing homes may cost thousands of dollars each month. It is also possible to save thousands of dollars in long-term care and probate costs by retaining an estate planning and asset protection attorney.
Contact The Mattar Firm
An experienced asset protection lawyer brings deep knowledge and experience to the estate planning process. They work on Medicaid cases on a daily basis and have a breadth of knowledge that goes beyond what a facility can offer. They are very knowledgeable and can help their clients achieve their goals throughout the process, whether it is saving money for their grandchildren or keeping assets instead of paying them to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Call The Mattar Firm today at 239-222-2222.