When most people think of estate planning, they have asset protection in mind. What people really want is to protect the nest egg that they worked so hard to build over the years. They want peace of mind knowing that their money is available for future use. But what most people don’t know is that the legal instruments that they are the most familiar with can do nothing to achieve true asset protection.
You’ve heard of a power of attorney, a will, perhaps even a revocable living trust. These instruments all serve a purpose, but cannot accomplish asset protection.
Neither a power of attorney, nor a will or a revocable living trust can shield your hard earned money from your creditors, including future long-term care creditors. The average cost of a private nursing home room in the DC Metro area is around $100,000 per year.
Powers of attorney help avoid a dreaded process known as “living probate,” but will not protect assets from creditors. In other words, documents that plan for your incapacity are useful should the unthinkable occur, but they won’t do a thing to protect your estate.
A will serves the purpose of aiding the probate process after death and allows you to select who takes what from your estate when you are gone, but if there is no money left in your estate after you have passed and after your creditors have had their turn, there may be nothing left for your intended beneficiaries.
A revocable living trust is better than a regular will because it allows your estate to avoid probate, minimizes delays, and maintains your privacy. But since we are talking about a revocable trust, you have no ability to protect that money from your creditors.
Is there some way to actually protect assets in contemplation of future long-term care expenses? Yes. You can protect your assets legally and effectively with a Living Trust PlusTM, also known as an irrevocable income-only trust.
You can legally qualify for Medicaid (the government program that pays for long-term care) even if you are not impoverished. If you are around the age of 65 or are already helping a loved one pay for long-term care, you owe it to yourself and your family to attend a free seminar on the Living Trust PlusTM.
Thursday, 02 June 2011 13:31
Nursing Home Care Protecting Your Nest EggBy Evan H. Farr, Certified Elder Law Attorney
Published in Legal and Health
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