Most people recognize that there is very little in life that they can truly control. In fact, life can sometimes seem like an endless series of gambles, as we make decisions and take risks without any real certainty about how things will ultimately turn out. Of course, that inherent risk is why we take as many precautions as we can to guard against the worst possible outcomes. We buy life insurance, home insurance, and vehicular insurance to ensure that we have at least some measure of protection when bad things happen.
Too many people, however, never act to protect their assets from threats like litigation, unforeseen tax liability, and other less common risks. If your wealth isn’t secured properly, those threats could consume your estate, disrupt your legacy planning, and leave your life in turmoil. The good news is that you don’t have to gamble with your wealth. Instead, you can take advantage of New York asset protection strategies and ensure that your hard-earned wealth is safeguarded against a whole host of threats.
Why is Asset Protection Important?
You no doubt work hard for your money, and you deserve to know that it’s safe from predatory lawsuits and other risks. If you don’t have asset protection strategies in place, however, those assets are anything but secure. Across the state of New York, hundreds of thousands of legal actions end up being filed on an annual basis. Obviously, many of those lawsuits have merit and are earnest attempts to seek some sort of compensation for real damages. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
In fact, many of those lawsuits are frivolous actions brought by predatory litigants who are just trying to cash in on someone else’s hard work. The problem is that the court system doesn’t always have the time or resources needed to weed out all the meritless cases – and that means that many frivolous suits manage to find their way onto court dockets. To defend against those suits, people just like you are required to expend time and money just to demonstrate that there is no real cause of action.
Of course, while that battle is raging, your assets remain at risk. Without the right protections, your property, accounts, and livelihood could be in danger. Some of the most common reasons why these lawsuits can be brought include:
- Claimed injuries from car accidents
- Injuries from accidents that occur on your property
- Alleged malpractice
- Other personal liability related to partnerships or business dealings
And if you think that your insurance is sufficient to ward against these threats, think again. While insurance policies can help to minimize the danger, few people ever carry enough insurance to negate the risk altogether. That would simply cost far more than most people could manage.
How Can You Protect Your Wealth?
Since insurance cannot be relied upon to guard against these dangers, other strategies should be employed. Fortunately, experienced asset protection and estate planning attorneys can help you to develop the plan you need to provide your wealth with security against all the most common risks.
Business Structure Matters. One of the most important things that you can do is get help to ensure that your business is structured in a way that minimizes your personal liability. Using structures like the limited liability company, you can create a wall between your personal and business assets that ensures that your private wealth is free from any liability related to your company’s operations.
Asset Protection Trusts. There are both offshore and domestic trust options that you can use to achieve your asset protection goals. These trusts can help to shield your assets from creditors, including litigants. Like other trusts, asset protection trusts provide a full range of additional benefits that can assist in your estate planning and legacy efforts.
Using New York Asset Protection Laws. The state of New York provides formal asset protection for its residents that include the following safeguards:
- Homestead Exemption of $50,000
- Life insurance protection that enables policies to be exempt from creditor claims.
- Annuity protection that secures the benefits and rights derived from annuity contracts.
- Protection for individual retirement accounts
When Should Asset Protection Begin?
It’s important that your efforts to protect assets be done at the right time. The fact is that you won’t be able to protect your wealth from creditors if you wait until after the claims have been made. While the laws in the state will afford people the right to shield wealth and protect themselves from predatory claims, they do not provide a means for you to escape lawful creditor actions. When you put off your asset protection until creditor problems appear, your ability to protect wealth from those claims will be dramatically diminished.
That makes it imperative that you begin efforts to protect your assets at the earliest possible opportunity. If you own a business or work in a field that could expose you to liability, then you need to have insurance policies, trusts, and other asset protection safeguards in place long before you may have need of them.
Can You Do It on Your Own?
Asset protection is not something that can be taken lightly. It involves complex legal issues that are best resolved in concert with an experienced estate planning attorney. You need a lawyer who understands that asset protection goes well beyond insurance – someone who has the experience to ensure that your asset protection plan is structured in a way that can withstand any legal challenge.
The New York asset protection experts at the Law Offices of Mary A. Miller, P.C. have the experience you’re looking for when you need to secure your wealth against potential loss. Our team can help you to develop the right strategy for your needs, ensuring that you have the security you need to be safe against even the most serious threats. For more information about how our experts can help you to better manage risk and avoid any gambles with your wealth, contact us online or give us a call at (914) 939-6565 today.