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A Guide to Elder Planning: Asset Protection

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This chapter explains how to protect your assets from lawsuits, divorce, and other catastrophers. It covers insurance, prenuptial agreements, bank accounts, trusts, homestead protection, fraudulent conveyances, assets protected by law, joint ownership, tenancy by the entirety, and family limited partnerships.
This chapter is from the book
  • “‘Would you tell me, please,
  • which way I ought to go from here?’
  • ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
  • ‘I don’t much care where,’ said Alice.
  • ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
  • ‘So long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
  • ‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat,
  • ‘if you only walk long enough.’”
  • —Lewis Carroll

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

It is not what you make that counts, it is how much you keep. Protecting your assets from the slings and arrows of outrageous lawsuits or divorces is a concern you share with many people. A single automobile accident or an injury to someone at your home could result in a financially devastating claim against you.

Insurance

At the cornerstone of any personal asset protection plan is insurance. You may be cynical about insurance and find yourself in agreement with Al Bundy of the old sitcom Married with Children, who said, “Insurance is like marriage. You pay and pay but you never get anything back.”

However, the purpose of liability insurance is not to get anything back, but to protect your other assets if you find yourself in legal jeopardy. In addition, when it comes to your homeowner’s insurance or your automobile insurance, you are not only protecting yourself if a claim is made against you; you are also insuring that if harm comes to you or your property, money is available to remedy the situation. This is money that you would prefer not getting, because it means that you have suffered a loss. Proper insurance coverage helps you sleep at night. It is a product that, if success is measured by money, you only win when you suffer a loss.

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