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How Protecting Assets is a Part of a Good Estate Plan

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All Florida estate plans are not created equal. A comprehensive estate plan does much more than state how your assets should be distributed at your death. One area of estate planning that may be overlooked is protecting assets. Asset protection makes sure that your assets are protected from creditors, that you are taking advantage of all tax benefits, and that assets move smoothly to beneficiary without having to go through probate. As an experienced Naples estate planning attorney, James Nici, will recommend asset protection strategies in any estate plan he develops for you.

What is Asset Protection?

Asset protection refers to various legal strategies whose purpose is to shield your property against claims and lawsuits. Asset protection also works to reduce your estate or inheritance tax liability. It ensures you leave the maximum amount possible to your heirs. Some examples of asset protection strategies include limited liability companies (LLCs), trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs), prenuptial agreements, and business succession plans.

Top Reasons For Protecting Assets in  Your Naples Estate Plan?

Below are seven of the top reasons James Nici, a leading Naples Florida estate Planning attorney familiar with asset protection strategies, recommends why you should include asset protection in your estate plan.

1. Protect Your Property If You Are Sued

America is one of the most litigious countries in the world. If you are the target of a lawsuit, the judgment against you could be substantial. Asset protection strategies can ensure certain assets are shielded from the collection, and one accident will not cause you to lose everything.

Anyone can be sued, but certain professionals, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, and contractors, face an even higher risk. A lawsuit judgment could be greater than the scope of your professional liability insurance. If you are employed in one of these fields, taking steps to protect your assets is critical.

2. Protect Your Assets from Creditors

There are asset protection tools that prevent creditors from reaching certain assets. Asset protection must be done proactively. For example, property in an asset protection trust cannot be touched by creditors. Under Florida law, transferring assets with the intention of hindering, delaying, or defrauding a creditor is illegal.

3. Keep Your Finances Private

Some asset protection tools work to keep your financial situation private, such as placing your property into an asset protection trust. If you have significant assets, financial privacy is critical to stop you from being the target of frivolous or unwarranted lawsuits. Unfortunately, it is common for plaintiffs to target individuals who have deep pockets. Asset protection can significantly reduce the likelihood that you are sued.

4. Protect Your Business Assets

In addition to protecting your personal property, asset protection strategies can shield your Naples business assets from creditors and lawsuits. Running a business comes with many risks; if you are left exposed, these risks can force you to shut down.

5. Safeguard You From Business Liabilities

If you are a business owner, there are asset protection tools that will limit your personal liability for claims on your company. For example, structuring your business as an LLC will prevent business debts and liabilities from affecting your personal assets.

6. Reduce Tax Estate Tax Liability

Florida does not impose an estate tax, but certain Florida estates could still owe federal estate taxes depending on their value. In 2023, the federal government collects estate taxes on any estate valued over $12.92. Estate taxes can significantly limit the inheritance left to your loved ones, with the rate ranging from 18 to 40 percent. Asset protection strategies, such as irrevocable trusts, effectively work to remove assets from your estate and ensure that your estate either falls below the estate tax limit or is taxed at a lower rate.

7. Protect Against Risks Presented By Family Members

Asset protection tools can both protect your property during your lifetime and after your death. Nobody wants the inheritance they worked hard to leave to their loved ones to fall into the hands of their creditors or be lost to an ex-family after a divorce. You also have the option of creating trusts to meet the specific needs of beneficiaries who require extra protection, such as those that are disabled or suffer from addiction. There are ways to structure your estate to ensure that your property will be protected from these events after you pass away.

Contact a Naples Asset Protection Lawyer – James Nici

Asset protection is a critical part of estate planning for your future and those you love.  As an asset protection lawyer, James Nici has over 25 years of experience in asset protection, estate plans, and probate. Get help with protecting assets that makes sense for you. Call our Naples firm – Nici Law Firm, at 239-449-6150 or contact us online for a complimentary consultation with a Florida Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts, and Estates.

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