presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning
Asset protection for the elderly is a complex subject and the legal advice given can be very different based on the assets of the family, estate planning goals, and other family problems such as children that do not get along or children that have creditor problems, mental illness, or other issues. Typically, the elderly client wishes to establish an estate plan that avoids the probate process (a court process that is required with a Last Will and Testament). The client’s goals usually include protecting assets that will ultimately be distributed to the children regardless of the client’s future long-term care needs while also maintaining optimal tax rates and advantages.
These goals can be achieved using an asset protection trust if certain time factors are met and the proper provisions are stated in the trust agreement. This type of planning is generally much more in-depth than is necessary for the standard Last Will and Testament; however, the extra work involved in preparing the estate plan is worthwhile when assets are preserved and the process of distributing assets at death is simplified.
Individuals that give gifts directly to children or, unknowingly, have the wrong type of trust may fail to protect assets and cause the children to lose favorable tax advantages. These mistakes typically cannot be corrected once they are finally discovered and can cause lasting regret to a family.
If you want an estate plan that does more than simply distribute assets at your death; or, if you are unsure of whether your current estate plan is adequate, talk with an attorney that has experience in estate planning and asset protection and review your situation.
–Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.