As more Americans reach retirement age and live further into the years beyond it, the issue of asset protection is becoming more important to a larger cross-section of the population. Once you are no longer working regularly, your savings, investments and other retirement funds may become your only source of income. With the right planning and savings during your career, that can be a substantial pool of resources, but it does need to be protected.
The law creates many openings where elder citizens might be vulnerable to exploitation or other sources of asset loss, including the use of their funds by spendthrift family members. There are a variety of ways to plan around this, though. Some require the help of an elder law or estate planning attorney, so knowing your options and the resources they require is the first step.
Using trusts to protect your assets
There are specific trusts that can be established for the purpose of protecting a senior citizen’s assets, but unfortunately, New York and New Jersey do not provide for this specific domestic trust. There are other available options, though, including trusts that are more routinely used to protect assets from taxes.
When you set up a trust, you gain the following benefits:
- The ability to designate who is in control of the funds and what purposes they may be put toward
- Protection from certain estate tax liabilities for your heirs
- Control over the use of funds when you are incapacitated or after your passing
There are a variety of trust instruments designed for different purposes, including some that are meant to help facilitate the controlled transfer of funds to relatives. When you are ready to decide how to move forward with the protection of your own assets, you may want to work with an elder law attorney who understands the limitations and benefits of a variety of trust types in New York and New Jersey. That way, you will have the ability to find the best fit for your situation.
Moving beyond asset protection
If you work with an elder law attorney, you can count on their experience and training to be able to help you with a variety of legal issues, including Medicare and Medicaid access and planning, reverse mortgage services, and even nursing home placement. That allows you to keep more control as you age, ensuring you are able to access the care and placement you need in addition to the protection of your assets.