Developing a well-designed North Carolina Asset Protection Plan involves (1) identifying your current risks; (2) reviewing your current assets and extent of your exposure; and (3) designing and implementing an asset protection plan to mitigate your exposure.
Various levels of asset protection planning may be used depending upon the degree of protection sought and the amount of assets at risk. Generally, our first step will be to review your liability insurance coverage, assets, and ownership structure for risk and inefficiencies.
Insurance Policy Review
All of your insurance policies should be reviewed for appropriate coverage amounts, appropriate riders, and potential coverage gaps. This may include homeowner’s insurance, automobile insurance, business insurances, flood insurance or similar, and umbrella liability insurance.
Ownership of Assets & Composition of Your Estate
Titling of all assets should be reviewed and if appropriate, titling should potentially be updated or transferred for stronger asset protection. Appropriate titling will depend on your specific circumstances. For example, for a married couple where one spouse is in a high-risk professional such as a doctor, it may make sense for some assets to be titled in the other spouse’s name. Bear in mind, however, that this can have significant marital law consequences in the event of a future divorce. In addition, if the low-risk spouse dies, the assets may end up back in the high-risk spouse’s name and at risk again.
The overall composition of your asset classes should be reviewed and potentially it may make sense to change investment strategies for stronger asset protection. This may include maximizing contributions to retirement plans, purchasing or contributing to cash value life insurance policies, or other protection strategies.
Are You a Sitting Target?
Unfortunately, some individuals have a higher likelihood of being sued due to the nature of their professional or financial stature—in other words, those that have something to lose.
In our years of experience working with thousands of clients in the Wake County area, we find that asset protection planning is particularly important if any of the following apply:
- You own a home and have an estimated net worth of $1M or more;
- You own vacation property;
- You own rental property;
- You are high income-earning professionals;
- You are high income-earning business owners;
- You own a business with significant value.
Don’t leave yourself or your loved ones stuck dealing with the financial aftermath that a lawsuit, medical bills or long-term care costs, or unexpected tragedy can bring to your family. Contact Carolina Family Estate Planning today at (919) 443-3035 or fill out our online form to speak with someone about registering for a seminar or a Vision Meeting. You may also wish request a free copy Jackie Bedard’s book, Estate Planning Pitfalls: The Twelve Most Common Threats To Your Estate & Your Family’s Future.
Asset Protection Planning Series: