Let’s Talk About Asset Protection

When we use the phrase “asset protection,” many people dismiss it because they don’t think it applies to them. They falsely assume this is for extremely wealthy individuals who may want to hide their money in off-shore accounts. Although that may be a form of asset protection (a very extreme form), it is not what we are referring to. Asset protection applies to everyone. Why? In our decades of practicing law, we have yet to meet someone without an asset. The fewer assets you own, the more critical it is to protect them!


The question then becomes, what are we trying to protect our assets from? Consider the person who gets into a car accident and gets sued. If you are married, you may get divorced. There are plenty of reasons to protect your assets—the most significant being incapacity. Although incapacity could easily apply to something as severe as a coma, it also speaks to something as common as diminished mental capacity. 


Things to Know to Be Prepared for Incapacity 


If you are over 65, there’s a 70% chance you will require long-term care at some point. Ask yourself whether you are prepared for this. Will you lose everything you have to pay for it? There are three things to consider before you can know how prepared you are. In addition to the two things we include below, you need to know that you must keep ownership of your assets. We have written about this previously, and you can read it on our website. Here are the two other things to consider: 


Type of Asset: This is relevant to any form of asset protection. This is the number one thing, especially if you are going into a nursing home. Focus on the type of asset you have. One of the most common types of assets that people have—and want to protect—is their home. Is your home the type of asset that is protected if you go into a nursing home? Yes! The type of asset determines protection in all fifty states. Neither the nursing home nor the government can put a lien on it or force you to sell it. Retirement accounts are also protected from nursing home Medicaid spend downs here in Georgia. They cannot touch your retirement account if you get sued or go bankrupt. 


Community Spouse Resource Allowance: Unlike your home or your retirement account, banking accounts are the types of assets counted. When married, you can keep more money in your account than if you are single. This is the amount you are allowed to have while still being able to qualify for Medicaid. Though the amount goes up yearly, it is currently $138,000! It is set to go up to around $150,000. 


Get in Touch with an Elder Law Attorney Today 

You do not need to lose everything you own to qualify for Medicaid. If you need to plan for long-term care, contact the experienced and established law firm of J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., and schedule your consultation.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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