When we hear the term “assets,” many of us may assume it doesn’t apply to us. We might think, “I don’t have any assets. I’m struggling to pay my bills, my house is underwater, and my car barely functions.”
However, regardless of our financial situation, most of us need some form of “asset protection.” Assets extend beyond tangible possessions or bank account balances. They include our family, our ability to support them, our health, our earning potential, and various other factors that we often overlook as valuable assets. The level of asset protection required varies depending on individual circumstances.
Consider this example. Imagine a person who hasn’t made any provisions for their family’s future. They may have delayed creating an estate plan, thinking they didn’t have significant assets or that it wasn’t a priority. However, a wake-up call occurred when a close friend passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind young children with no clear instructions or designated guardians.
In this scenario, several family members might vie for custody of the children, potentially leading to disputes and legal battles. Without a proper estate plan in place, there would be confusion regarding the person’s assets, their locations, and their intentions for the children’s well-being. This situation could be further complicated if the person resided in a different state from most of their relatives, requiring guardianship and probate proceedings across state lines.
Preparing your affairs shouldn’t require a crisis. We all want to protect ourselves and our families. To ensure you’re on the right track, consider the following basic considerations for your family’s well-being.
Take care of your family. At the very least, create a will. A trust is also valuable as it helps avoid probate.
Take care of yourself. Establish a durable power of attorney for financial matters, a health care power of attorney, and a living will (medical directive). Share important information with your chosen agent, such as bank account details and your healthcare preferences in case you become unable to make decisions.
Take care of your income and earning capabilities. Secure disability insurance and consider long-term care planning in advance to mitigate potential issues.
Take care of your assets. Plan for worst-case scenarios to alleviate concerns. Legal and legitimate methods exist to safeguard your assets without engaging in fraudulent practices against potential creditors.
What often holds us back from taking action is the perceived lack of time, financial resources, or knowledge. However, investing effort into proper planning now can significantly minimize future burdens on your family, both financially and emotionally, after you’re gone.
At Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, we understand the importance of asset protection. Our law firm offers comprehensive legal services tailored to safeguarding your family, assets, and future. Reach out to us today at 480-733-6800 to discuss your unique circumstances and discover the best strategies for protecting what matters most to you.