During your lifetime, do you want to prevent others (called “predators”) from getting your “stuff”? While you are alive but not well, do you want to preserve your “stuff”, even if you are in a nursing home? Are you worried that after you die, predators will try to separate your spouse, child or grandchild from the “stuff” you left them? Are you worried that when you die, the government will take money from your family for taxes? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, that is what we mean by asset protection planning.
This question is similar to asking if you should involve a cardiologist in your medical care when you have a heart attack? When you assemble and involve a team of professionals with your family, you receive the experience, input and expertise of people from different disciplines. This team approach makes sure that what you plan and put in place is effective, practical and understandable.
By definition, your “estate” upon your death includes everything you have an interest in on the date of your death. More importantly, we accumulate “stuff” during our lifetimes for two reasons. The first reason is to make sure that we have a comfortable standard of living throughout our lives, including into retirements. The second reason is to leave an inheritance to our beneficiaries. If someone or some entity were able to take one of these assets away from us during our lifetime, what would happen to our two goals? A competent team of professionals can make sure that if a crisis happens in your life, the impact on your “stuff” will be minimal or non-existent.