As the New Year approaches, resolutions to change old habits and achieve new goals abound. Some might set out to work out more, make a job change, spend more time with family or perhaps take a trip someplace they’ve always wanted to go. Another item to put at the top of the list, however, should be updating an estate plan.
It’s recommended to revise and update an estate plan at least every few years, or after a significant life event such as marriage, a death in the family or the birth of a grandchild. Further, you should consider an update if you’ve changed your mind since you last addressed your estate documents. Getting started after the holidays can help you get a jump on the year to come.
One particular reason to update an estate plan is asset protection. This becomes even more important as you age. Using asset protection strategies can help you protect yourself and your loved ones’ income and assets that may need to be spent in the event of a long-term care crisis. Unfortunately, many of the Florida seniors we meet have not taken the time to plan ahead. Planning ahead, often years in advance, is critical to ensure that the most planning options possible are available.
Proactive asset protection planning can provide a variety of safeguards, but they must operate fully within the bounds of the law. Working with your elder law attorney can help you to avoid any potential pitfalls from bad advice or doing it alone. Unfortunately, today, there are many non-attorney long-term care planners who do not understand the legal nuances that can impact your eligibility.
It’s critical to begin asset protection activities before you need long-term care assistance. We understand though that you may not anticipate the need for care and can help you and your family find solutions even if you wait until a time of crisis. Once your assets are secured for your long-term care future, you can then incorporate them into your estate plan. Estate planning tools such as rental property and irrevocable trusts may be ideal planning structures to reach your goals.
Planning early and well can ensure that your spouse, children, and other named beneficiaries may be provided for in the future. Remember that asset protection is long-term planning. We encourage you to contact us with your questions to get the advice you need both now and in the future.