Homes are often people’s most important asset. If you don’t protect that asset, you can leave your family vulnerable. With that in mind, we’ve brought in Phil Vacchio, an attorney for the law offices of Valerie A. Shivers and an expert in estate planning and elder law, to talk about protecting your assets.
As Phil explains, you not only want to protect your home as an asset, but you also want that asset to go to its intended beneficiaries when you pass away to avoid any inter-family conflict. As much as you don’t want to think about it, you shouldn’t wait to make a will. You want to have everything all set out in writing on legal documents so you don’t have to worry about a disaster scenario occurring.
For example, for young couples who are first buying a house who have young children, they might want to think about designating someone to manage the inheritance they would pass on to their children until they themselves reach an age where they can appropriately manage those assets.
If and when you decide that you want to create a will, you would begin with a basic estate plan, or what Phil calls a “basic plan.” First, your own lawyer would inquire about your family situation and the assets you own. Your house is going to be one of your biggest assets, so you would have to decide where it and your other assets would go. Also, you would have to decide who you want to manage where those assets are going and when they get there.
For elderly individuals buying or selling houses, Phil advises thinking about protecting their assets from creditors and from the event of long-term care and need. For someone going into a nursing home, there is a five-year lookback period where they look at all transfers made during that period. If your house is in your name during that last five-year period, it is susceptible to being attacked and liened by companies like Medicaid.
Regardless of your circumstance, you do not want to have your documents improperly prepared when the time comes to execute them. Make sure you work with a professional like Phil. There are many types of trusts you can use to protect your assets. Additionally, they can help your family avoid probate so they don’t have to go to court and spend legal fees after you pass away.
If you’d like to follow up with Phil about protecting your assets, his first consultation is free of charge. You can reach him by phone at 631.569.4334 or visit his law firm’s website at www.valerieshiverslaw.com.
If you have any other questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d be happy to help you!