Protecting your Assets
You want to ensure that your family’s assets are protected from potential threats, whether you’re starting or have an existing fortune. Your help could be at risk in many ways, so what seems like an easy goal might be complicated. Rathburn Associates in Columbus, OH, offers advice on protecting your assets against less-known threats.
Threats to your Assets
Most people are well aware of the apparent threats to their assets, and there are also less obvious threats that could quickly decrease the value of your estate.
1. While you can be held responsible for your spouse’s debts, do you realize that joint property could be at risk due to a spouse’s liabilities or obligations? Are you aware of the current title of marital assets? Many don’t pay attention to details in a title or deed and don’t realize that the joint title’s type and form can impact your property interest.
2. Your inlaws: Imagine spending your whole life building up assets so that your children are well taken care of even after you retire. Even though you won’t live to witness it, the large inheritance your son left to his wife is lost in the divorce proceedings. Or the legacy your daughter left to her husband is lost.
3. Long-term care: You might need long-term care even if you don’t want to consider it. The cost could quickly reduce your assets’ value if you pay out of pocket for long-term care. You may have to include Medicaid planning in an estate plan. Once that happens, your assets will be used until they reach the Medicaid “countable resource” limit, and Medicaid will only then start covering your expenses.
4. Beneficiaries: Your hard-earned assets could be at risk from your heirs. Direct gifts are irrevocable once they have been made to beneficiaries, and there is no way to control how those funds or assets are used. The beneficiary may lose all their holdings due to gambling, drug addiction, or poor money management skills.
5. Estate taxes: Federal gift and estate taxes apply to all estates at a rate of 40%. Your estate will be subject to gift and estate taxes if the total value of all assets and lifetime gifts you have at your death exceeds 40 percent. This means that your nest egg could be at risk. Additionally, certain states may impose estate taxes, which can increase the risk to your assets.
6. Incapacity: Ever thought about what would happen if you become incapacitated tomorrow? You might find that more than one person wants to be your guardian, leading to a legal battle and a family split for years. You also have no control over the person appointed to manage your assets because you didn’t plan. Incapacity planning is a way to avoid such an outcome. You should plan with Rathburn Associates here in Columbus,OH.