Simply put, estate planning is the process by which a person determines where their financial assets will go when they die. If you create a living trust, your estate plan may even include instructions for medical professionals indicating how you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill before you die. Some people assume that estate planning is only for the wealthy and elderly. In reality, if you have a bank account or other possessions, you have an estate.
If you are afraid of losing your assets in a lawsuit or claim, you may be able to protect them through effective estate planning. However, estate planning and asset protection carry certain risk. If you plan your estate to keep your money away from creditors, lawsuits, or claims, you may be accused of making a fraudulent transfer. Many people assume that, at the very worst, a judge will reverse the transaction and they will lose their money to creditors.
In reality, if a judge believes that you transferred money into an exempt account in order to avoid paying a creditor, you may be subject to heavy fines and other penalties.
Thus, if you want to protect your assets through estate planning, make sure you start early. For instance, if you want to protect your funds in the future by placing them in an exempt retirement account, don’t transfer all of your money into the account after a claim has been filed against you. You may be accused of fraud. Plan early, establish an account, and make regular payments. This way, you can protect your assets while avoiding criminal charges.
To learn more about protecting your assets through estate planning, talk to a lawyer from Okabe & Haushalter today. If you are already under investigation for making a fraudulent transfer, we are ready to help. To see what an attorney from the firm can do for you, call our office today!