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Florida Asset Protection Plans

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When one is planning their estate, it is common to worry about whether creditors will be able to “reach” your assets and prevent them from going to your heirs as you wish. While obviously, attempting to outright conceal assets is patently illegal, it is perfectly acceptable to try and protect your assets in ways that comply with the law. Enlisting an attorney who is well versed in these types of cases can help ensure your estate is in as much order as possible, and your assets are protected.

Varied & Complex

There are a number of potential reasons why one might feel the need to affirmatively protect their assets, with most of them having to do with potential creditors. If you fear that you might wind up the target of a lawsuit, or if your assets are tied up in a professional practice such as a doctor’s surgery or law firm, or if you simply worry that your heirs will not receive a substantive enough bequest after your creditors are repaid, you can seek legitimate avenues to protect your assets from creditors, as Florida law offers several options to keep certain assets out of creditors’ hands.

That said, one size does not fit all. One type of asset protection may be best for one type of asset, while another may be more efficient for another sort of asset. For example, if you primarily own real estate, you may want to create a limited liability company (LLC) to hold title and administer the property. If most of your net worth lies in stocks or money market accounts, conversely, a limited partnership or family partnership may be a better bet.

Seek Financial Exemptions

In order to ensure that as many of your assets are protected from creditors as possible, you need a detailed accounting of the nature of your assets and any potential entanglements. Armed with this information, you and your attorney can investigate financial exemptions, of which Florida offers plenty to those seeking to safeguard their property. For example, one of Florida’s biggest financial draws for many, particularly senior citizens, is its expansive homestead exemption. If you have a piece of property that you claim as your permanent residence, it is exempt from taxation on the first $50,000, up to $25,000. More tax exemption may apply the higher your property’s value.

It is important to keep in mind that some exemptions only apply until your passing. For example, most retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s are protected from creditors under various laws, such as the federal Employment Retirement Income & Security Act (ERISA) or Florida state regulations. However, this protection ends once you are deceased; afterward, creditors have the right to try and seek payment of the debt, and they may contact your beneficiary in order to do so.

Call A Naples Asset Protection Attorney

If you have questions, concerns or just want to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your personal legal issues in a confidential setting, contact James R. Nici, the Managing Partner of Nici Law Firm, a Naples estate planning attorney with almost 30 years of legal experience.  This may be the first step toward ensuring all is how you want it to be going forward. Contact our offices today via our website, or on the telephone at 239-449-6150, to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Resources:

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2019/196.031

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0605/0605.html

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