How to protect your money

How to protect your money

There is always the risk of losing your assets from creditors filing claims, an unfairly adjudicated lawsuit, claims arising from damages, bankruptcy, and even divorce. However, you can avoid these threats by implementing solid asset protection strategies.

The importance of asset protection cannot be overstatedd. It can help shield the assets that you’ve worked long and hard to accumulate. It is a proactive measure that will ensure that you get to fully enjoy what you’ve earned. Although you are not praying for these risks to befall on you, you should consider and invest in asset protection long before the threats come knocking at your door.

Common Ways to Protect Your Assets

There are several ways to shield your assets . Below we discuss five most common asset protection strategies.

1. Use an appropriate business entity or structure

Regardless of the size of business you’re operating, make sure that you shield your personal assets in case of claims through establishing the appropriate business structure. A cardinal rule in doing business: never mix business and personal assets. They must be kept separate. To achieve this, you need to establish the right business structure , such as a Corporation, LLC, or partnership. Operating a business under sole proprietorship exposes your personal assets to claims. A sole proprietorship does not shield your personal assets. In the case of liabilities arising from your business operations, it can easily spill into your personal assets. Choosing the right business entity requires a tax professional or an accountant to review and evaluate your business dealings getting familiar with the most common business structures, such as an LLC will help you protect your assets..

2. Invest in insurance

Insurance is vital in protecting your assets. Unfortunately, there are still some business owners that don’t consider insurance as a priority. There are many types of insurance that offer protection to different assets, such as automobile insurance, property insurance, etc. Professionals working in high-liability occupations, such as medical professionals, lawyers, and real estate professionals, also need insurance to protect their assets in case of claims. However, it’s not enough that you take out insurance, you have to regularly check its coverage to see how much of your assets are insured.

3. Ensure proper asset titling

A property can be seized through titling . Make sure to check your assets’ titles are in order; that includes your home, office space, and other properties. Proper titling ensures that they are shielded in case of an attempt to question your ownership. Check individual state laws regarding titling to know the appropriate plan for your properties. Take note that some states have titling exemptions which you might need to consider.

4. Transferring ownership

Sometimes it’s best to get rid of assets that are being threatened instead of holding onto them. A good way to skirt creditors is to transfer ownership of your assets into a trust that is accessible by an appointed party. It’s a good way of safekeeping assets. You might want to consider opening an offshore trust account to further isolate your assets while maintaining full control of them. Another way of releasing ownership is by ‘donating’ or ‘gifting’ the asset to a family member or trusted individual. However, this might entail costs and taxes. Consulting a lawyer to help you choose the best way to release or transfer ownership of your assets.

5. Start a retirement plan

We work hard to accumulate assets for us to enjoy later in life or for our loved ones to enjoy. Protected by federal and state laws, a retirement plan can guarantee that you’ll enjoy these funds the way you intend to. With a retirement plan, you make accounts and move the assets or money you don’t need into the retirement plan. Take note that when you move your funds into these retirement accounts, you will not have access to it until you’re of age. Again, it’s essential to seek the counsel of a lawyer to explore applicable laws in your state.

Final Thoughts

Asset protection is protecting yourself. As such, it should be prioritized and not delayed. Having solid asset protection can make you feel more secure and comfortable. Regularly review your situation to see potential weaknesses and errors. Plug all possible vulnerabilities and avoid making yourself the target of litigations, creditor claims, and frauds. Getting the advice of a professional asset protection specialist can help you through this process.

How to protect your money

Are you unsure as to how to protect your (or your parents’) money from Medicaid?

The elderly may find themselves facing financial ruin in their later years. Fortunately, there’s Medicaid, but in most cases, they have to spend down almost all their savings — money they may have spent their entire working lives amassing. Fortunately, if you’re careful and work far in advance, there are ways to legally “hide” your savings from Medicaid.

The key number to remember is 60 months. You need to set aside money 5 years before you need Medicaid or you’re out of luck, possibly facing penalties and program disqualification. With that caveat in mind, which legal and financial strategies can help? While this is a complex topic, I have summarized some of the strategies we suggest below.

Asset-protection trusts

These trusts are designed to provide asset protection so the assets no longer belong to you and are beyond the reach of Medicaid. You can transfer your home into a trust and still live in the home. You can also add income-producing assets and still receive the income but not the principal.

Qualified income trusts

QITs are irrevocable trusts designed to hold an applicant’s excess income. Some states allow the spend down to meet Medicaid limits but others don’t, so QITs come in handy. A trustee will be appointed to manage the disbursement of funds for allowable expenses.

Pooled income trusts

These also are irrevocable accounts used to hold excess income, but they are for disabled individuals. The surplus income is pooled together and managed by a nonprofit that acts as a trustee and disburses the funds. Unused funds remain with the trust for charitable purposes.

Medicaid-compliant annuities and promissory notes

A properly worded and structured annuity or promissory note creates cash flow from your assets that can be used to pay the nursing home during a shortened penalty period of 30 months. The monthly income, together with your Social Security benefits and pension, are used to pay the nursing home for your care. It can be a good “last minute” solution.

Spousal transfers and spousal refusal

Transfers between spouses are permitted and, unlike many other strategies, are not subject to the look-back period. One basic Medicaid-planning strategy is to transfer assets to the well spouse who still lives in their home, referred to as the community spouse. New York and Florida permit spousal refusal — the healthy spouse refuses to provide support for the spouse who needs care, allowing the ill spouse to be immediately eligible for Medicaid.

This is just an introduction to a very complex topic, and rules can vary from one state to another. You need specialized professionals who are familiar with your state’s Medicaid programs. These individuals can work within the laws to produce as favorable an outcome as possible for you. Legally sheltering certain assets and using them to avoid paying the high cost of a nursing home is crucial. But you need to start now and not wait until the situation becomes critical.

Do you want to hire an attorney to help you?

Click HERE to contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Durng this consultation, we can discuss how we can help you protect your money from Medicaid.

Do you want to learn more?

Do you want to hear more about this topic? Click HERE to register for one of our free webinars to learn more about protecting your money from Medicaid.

It’s a great tool to protect assets in a divorce, but what if you don’t have it?

— — intro:Prenuptial agreements can be a great tool for protecting assets for married couples who ultimately end up divorcing. But what happens when you don’t have a prenup? Or if you wanted one but your spouse refused to sign and you decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation? Can you still protect your assets? The answer, as is so often the case in law, is that it depends. Certain assets can absolutely be protected. Others not so much. Here is the list of ways you can protect (at least some of) your money and assets without a prenup.

quicklist:title: Keep your own funds separate.text: The word “commingling” is often synonymous with “lottery winnings” to one spouse; and “gambling losses” to the other. If you have an account that has funds in it that you either 1) owned prior to the marriage; or 2) received during the marriage as inheritance or a non-marital gift; and then mixed in your earnings from your pay, or joint funds from another bank account – then poof! The entire account becomes marital. Why? Because the courts consider money to be “fungible” meaning that once that marital dollar goes in, you can’t tell which dollar is coming back out. So Rule #1 – Keep your separate funds separate!

quicklist:title: Keep your own real estate separate.text: Many people own a home prior to getting married. Oftentimes, especially if that home becomes the home for the married couple, the homeowner decides to throw the other person’s name onto the deed. What harm could that be? Right? I mean what happens if the owner died – wouldn’t you want your spouse to have it? The answer is that once the non-owning spouse’s name is on that deed, even if it is removed again down the road, the result is that the court will presume that you have given half the value to that spouse as a gift. And yes, you can sit on the stand and testify that it was only done for “estate planning” purposes, but most times that kind of testimony just comes off as self-serving and falls flat. So, you can always create a will or trust that leaves your property to your spouse. Rule #2 – do not put your spouse’s name on the deed unless you are prepared to hand over half the value of it in a divorce.

quicklist:title: Use non-marital funds to maintain non-marital property.text: Here’s where the waters get murkier. It is easy enough to decide to keep your own property in your own name. The rub comes when it comes to maintaining that property. This is where the couple is using their paychecks to pay the mortgage on that property, or to make renovations or improvements to that property. Now the court is going to be faced with trying to carve out which part of the value of the property might be marital and which part of the value has remained non-marital – a tedious and tortuous task. To keep it all clean, just use your funds from your premarital or inherited account to maintain your non-marital property, too.

quicklist:title: Keep bank statements for retirement accounts issued at the date of marriage.text: Unlike other accounts that are commingled, if you have retirement account assets at the date of marriage, and at the time of divorce, you can produce a statement that shows what you had in that account, then the court may let you carve off that amount and divide the rest. The challenge is finding those statements sometimes. Make sure you keep statements that show if the custodian changes.

quicklist:title: Get a valuation of your business around the date of the marriage.text: Also unlike bank accounts that are commingled, the court has the ability to potentially carve off the appreciated value of a non-marital business. So for example, if your business was worth $1 million on the date of your marriage and worth $2 million on the date of your divorce, your spouse would be entitled to the one half of the difference or $500,000. (Or you could have just had the spouse sign a prenuptial agreement that waived any and all appreciation — but assuming you didn’t, this is the next best option).

While a prenuptial agreement is the ideal way for specifying how assets are to be divided should there be a dissolution of marriage, all is not lost if there isn’t one. By following these five steps, you can still protect some, if not all, of your premarital or non-marital assets.

The financial effects of divorce can also have an impact on your credit. So both during and after your divorce, it’s important to keep an eye on your credit reports and credit scores to watch for inaccuracies or any other problems that need your attention. You’re entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

How to protect your money

With online banking and shopping offering greater convenience, more and more people are using the Internet to conduct financial transactions and make purchases. However, cybercriminals are capitalising on opportunities to steal consumers’ passwords, identities and money.

Internet security tips — to help you protect your money and credit cards online

Here are some useful tips — from Kaspersky Lab’s team of security experts — to help you protect your money and data when you’re online:

  • Don’t assume links are genuine
    When you need to visit an online bank, a retailer or a payment website, you should manually type in the URL — instead of clicking on a link. Do not visit websites by clicking on:
    • Links in emails
    • Messages on social network sites
    • Messages in chat rooms
    • Banner ads that are on suspicious websites
    • Links sent to you by people you do not know
  • Beware of fake communications
    Most financial organisations will never send emails asking customers to:
    • Send personal data in an email
    • Visit their site for authorisation
    • Enter personal data in pop-up windows
  • Check the URL
    When you’re visiting a web page that needs you to enter confidential data, carefully check that the address of the page that’s shown on the browser corresponds with the page that you were intending to access. If the URL is made up of a random selection of letters and numbers — or it looks suspicious — do not input any information.

    Use encryption
    Make sure that you use an encrypted connection, whenever you need to input any confidential data. If a connection is secure, the URL will start with the letters ‘https’ — in addition, the address bar or the browser’s status bar will display a small icon of a lock. When you click on the lock icon, look closely at the information about the SSL authentication certificate that has been issued to the site (you’ll be able to note when the certificate was issued, who issued it and for what period the certificate was issued).

    Use your own computer — and your own Internet connection
    Try to avoid using public computers — in Internet cafes, airports, clubs, hotels, libraries or other locations — when you need to access online banking services or online retailers. These public computers may have a variety of spyware programs running on them. If so, these malicious programs could record everything you type on the keyboard — including your passwords — and also intercept Internet traffic.

    Even if you use your own computer for online transactions, you need to avoid connecting to the Internet via a public Wi-Fi network. On a public Wi-Fi network, there is a risk that the traffic might be intercepted by the network’s administrator or by cybercriminals — and attacks might be launched with network worms.

    Don’t use your main credit card or debit card
    You might benefit from having a special card that you only use for online purchases. It may be possible to restrict the credit limit for your ‘online credit card’ or to hold a limited amount of money on your ‘online debit card’.

    Learn from other people’s experiences
    Before making a purchase online, try to read customer reviews about that specific retailer.

    Be wary of potentially untrustworthy sites
    It can be a good idea to avoid buying from retailers that have websites that are registered with free hosting services.

    Get additional information about the website
    If you have any doubts or suspicions about a retailer’s website, use a ‘WhoIs’ IP service in order to find out more information about the domain — including how long it has been in use and who owns it. Note the period of time for which the domain has been paid.

    Eliminate vulnerabilities — in your operating system and applications
    Always ensure that the operating system — and all applications — on your computer and other devices have the latest updates installed. This will help to eliminate operating system and application vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious software programs and attacks. Windows OS products are often targets of vulnerabilities so be sure you’re secure whether you are running the newest OS , XP, or Windows 7 – security is essential.

    Maintain your firewall
    For additional security, instead of just running a standard firewall, you may choose to run application and software-based firewalls.

  • Protect against malware and Internet security risks
    A rigorous anti-malware solution can protect you against computer viruses, worms, Trojan viruses and more. Some anti-malware products also include special technologies that provide additional layers of security when you’re using online shopping and banking websites.

Other articles and links related to online security

Protecting Your Money – Security Tips

With online banking and shopping offering greater convenience, more and more people are using the Internet to conduct financial transactions and make purchases. However, cybercriminals are capitalising on opportunities to steal consumers’ passwords, identities and money.

This post may have affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you choose to purchase through them. Here’s our Disclosure & Privacy Policy for more info.

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Last Updated 3 years ago

Getting robbed, scammed and compromised while traveling is the biggest buzzkill around.
I know. I’ve been there.

I have been robbed at gun point in Latin America, had cash stolen from my hotel room, and found my credit cards skimmed and compromised.
It left me feeling violated, vulnerable and paranoid.

Despite the few negative experiences and security breaches I’ve endured while traveling, I still love exploring new countries and cultures. I refuse to let a few bad apples keep me from my globe-trotting dreams.

Instead of holding myself back from traveling the world, I am using my past experiences as a lesson in financial safety. Here are my 11 best tips in keeping your money safe while travelling. Everything from the cash in your pocket, to the cards in your purse, plus your bank account as a whole.

How to protect your money

Money Safety – Before You Travel:

Do Your Homework

Learn the exchange rates, along with some basic costs of living in the country you’re going to. Download a currency converter app like this for your mobile so you can access it on the go.

I also look up typical costs for things like meals and taxi’s on Numbeo , so I have a good point of reference to how much something should cost. Case and point, an unmetered taxi in Bali once told me a 10 minute trip would be over $30 when I knew very well it would be around $5. Doing my homework has allowed me to avoid getting ripped of, overcharged and taken advantage of.

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cash)

Order a small amount of the countries currency to bring with you. You can do this at your local bank, or even a currency exchange booth at the mall. It’s always nice to have money on you for unseen expenses, like paying for a Visa on arrival at the airport, or hiding duty free purchases from your husband. Just aim to keep the amount small.

Bringing in a huge wad of cash is only going to raise red flags or increase your risk of theft. What if you lost your bag? What if you brought in a higher amount of cash allowed by customs? I might bring enough cash in to fund my travels for a few days, but I never travel with more than that.

(There are off the beaten path countries where this tip won’t work, like Iran, which doesn’t allow foreigners to withdraw from local ATMS. If you are going somewhere less traveled, find out if you can take out money once inside.)

Get an RFID Purse or Wallet

Before investing in an RFID purse, my card was constantly getting scanned. Thieves take scanning machines into busy public places and can skim the information off your credit cards via the ‘tap’ feature and use it to make small purchases. This happened overseas and multiple times in the US!

Now I use an RFID purse made by a company called Arden Cove that keeps my credit card info safe. I’ve used the same bag for almost 2 years and it’s still in perfect condition. My husband also uses an RFID wallet for his own cards and we haven’t had a problem since.

Beef Up Your Bank’s Security

Call or visit your bank and ask them to put a few extra security measures on your account. I personally had my branch disconnect my savings accounts from the available withdrawal options while using an ATM. That way, if I was ever forced by a thief to take out money, it doesn’t even show that I HAVE a savings account. It’s simply not accessible by ATM. I also keep a modest amount of money in my current/checking account.

Another option I applied was daily withdrawal limits on my bank account. This way, if someone got my bank card and my PIN, they wouldn’t be able to empty the account quickly or easily.

These quick and easy requests will help keep your money safe while abroad.

Trusts shield your home and property.

A trust is a legal structure that allows you to preserve income and assets that would otherwise be lost under Medicaid regulations. Trusts are among the main workhorses of Elder Law planning, and some of its most powerful tools. Here’s how they function to protect your home or any other property you hold.

How to protect your moneyLet’s say you own a house, condominium or cooperative apartment worth $500,000 in today’s market. You bought it 40 years ago for $35,000, and your loan is paid off Now you need long-term care. The problem is that while your home is an exempt asset for eligibility purposes, Medicaid may eventually require that the equity be used to reimburse the cost of your care. They’ll do that by enforcing a lien against your property when you move out permanently or die. The lien will be equal to the amount of benefits paid.

Costs for long-term care are exorbitant. That means after just a short time, the equity in your home could be exhausted by the amount of the lien Medicaid may eventually be able to enforce. In effect, you’ll be leaving your home to the government to repay Medicaid, instead of to your children or other family members.

A trust strategy eliminates the entire problem. By transferring your home to an asset protection trust, you are no longer the owner. The house legally belongs to the trust. And your property is safe from being subject to a Medicaid lien. (Of course, transfers within the look back period will still be subject to a penalty, if nursing home care is required. See Strategy No. 3.: Plan for Home Care and Nursing Home Facility Care while You Still Can)

ln many instances, parents want to leave homes to children in their Wills. Using a trust can be a better vehicle than a Will for this purpose. That’s because the trust achieves Medicaid eligibility and protects its value. Your home can eventually be transferred to your children, rather than be lost to the government. You don’t have to move because you can state in the trust that you have a legal right to live there for the rest of your life. The beneficiaries of the trust can be the same people named in your Will.

It’s important to know that implementing trust strategies for Medicaid planning is a complex process. Every client situation has individual characteristics and critical differences, which is why you need a qualified Elder Law firm to make a competent evaluation.

Once the firm’s assessment is complete, your Elder Law attorney can draft a trust that is appropriate for you. You then simply appoint a person to manage the trust, usually one of your children, or a relative or friend, who is referred to as the trustee. Professional trustees are also available for hire if there’s no one you feel completely comfortable with.

How to protect your money

Whether you have a lot of money or just a little, you will want to protect every hard-earned cent.

You may have little control over the more substantial financial problems caused by the recent pandemic, but you can protect your finances on a more personal level.

With so many potential threats, here are the main ones and how you avoid them.

How to Protect Your Money

Theft

Nobody has control over having something of value stolen, but there are ways to safeguard your valuables.

Adequate insurance is one way. Another is to hide your most valued possessions away, or at least out of sight to make them harder to find.

You can also back up any critical data in case your laptop or other devices are stolen. Set up passwords that aren’t obvious and change them regularly.

Having a location tracker on your devices is helpful. If you do your banking and other financial tasks online, change passwords as soon as you can if your device goes missing.

Identity theft

Failure to do the above can result in identity theft. There are several other ways opportunists can steal your identity and use your good credit rating to take out and use credit cards in your name.

The author of What’s the Deal With Identity Theft, Robert M. Ryerson, covers this subject in his book and in some of his articles on Medium.

Some ways to avoid this are to never give out personal details online, over the phone, or in-person unless you can be 100% sure the company is who and what it claims to be.

Any genuine person asking for these details will understand your reluctance and will be happy for you to verify their credentials if you have any doubts.

Also, avoid social media games that may seem innocent, but are designed to draw personal information out of you, such as your mother’s maiden name, your first pet, etc., many of which are often used as password prompts.

Try to be careful when sharing images online. Ensure there are no personal details that could identify your address or credit card details.

For example, your card on the table fully or partially visible in the photo, a letter with your full or part of your address showing, or if you’re standing in front of your front door and the house name or number is visible in the photograph.

Scammers can piece this information together to steal your identity, or to prise other vital details out of you, to collate enough information to steal from you.

Having the wrong life insurance

It’s a common worry about how your family may manage if something happens to you.

Making sure you have the right life insurance may sound like a morbid way to spend your time, but it can give you the peace of mind to get on with your life without the nagging worry in the back of your mind.

Some life insurance policies only cover you for a set length of time, or until you reach a certain age. Others may provide insufficient cover, so it’s worth checking the small print and switching to a more appropriate policy if you consider it necessary.

Saving for retirement

Similarly to having the right life insurance, you also need to think ahead, this time to the best-case scenario of enjoying your retirement.

To ensure you can do that, you should check what you’re currently paying towards your pension will be enough for you to live on when you finish earning.

You can assess your finances and determine whether you can afford to pay more, or if you can downgrade your retirement plans while remaining financially comfortable enough to get by and still provide some enjoyment later in life.

If you have the option to draw down some money from your pension early, you should try to resist the temptation, and if you’re offered something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Never take anything at face value and always do your research before signing anything.

Your lifestyle

We all like to enjoy life whenever we can, but you could be wasting money on things you don’t need or on people who take advantage of your generosity.

Ask yourself if you often go for a meal or to a bar which cost substantially more than other restaurants or bars.

Do you regularly treat your friends and family? There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself or others, but if you’re always the one doing the treating and are never on the receiving end, you might want to start by having one night out where you don’t.

Anyone who values you won’t resent you for it. You could also try going somewhere cheaper; you’ll probably appreciate the upmarket places more if you visit them less frequently. There are also plenty of other ways to save money if you just give it some thought.

In short, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of, and question anything that doesn’t sound right. You can protect your finances and lower the risk of falling for a scam, bad deal, or any other financial service which isn’t right for your needs.

How to protect your money

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Hey, I’m Lidiya

How to protect your money

Thanks for stopping by. I’m Lidiya, a blogger, course creator and founder of Let’s Reach Success.

I help high vibe women create an abundant, value-driven business so they can live a fearless life and provide epic value.

Trusts shield your home and property.

A trust is a legal structure that allows you to preserve income and assets that would otherwise be lost under Medicaid regulations. Trusts are among the main workhorses of Elder Law planning, and some of its most powerful tools. Here’s how they function to protect your home or any other property you hold.

How to protect your moneyLet’s say you own a house, condominium or cooperative apartment worth $500,000 in today’s market. You bought it 40 years ago for $35,000, and your loan is paid off Now you need long-term care. The problem is that while your home is an exempt asset for eligibility purposes, Medicaid may eventually require that the equity be used to reimburse the cost of your care. They’ll do that by enforcing a lien against your property when you move out permanently or die. The lien will be equal to the amount of benefits paid.

Costs for long-term care are exorbitant. That means after just a short time, the equity in your home could be exhausted by the amount of the lien Medicaid may eventually be able to enforce. In effect, you’ll be leaving your home to the government to repay Medicaid, instead of to your children or other family members.

A trust strategy eliminates the entire problem. By transferring your home to an asset protection trust, you are no longer the owner. The house legally belongs to the trust. And your property is safe from being subject to a Medicaid lien. (Of course, transfers within the look back period will still be subject to a penalty, if nursing home care is required. See Strategy No. 3.: Plan for Home Care and Nursing Home Facility Care while You Still Can)

ln many instances, parents want to leave homes to children in their Wills. Using a trust can be a better vehicle than a Will for this purpose. That’s because the trust achieves Medicaid eligibility and protects its value. Your home can eventually be transferred to your children, rather than be lost to the government. You don’t have to move because you can state in the trust that you have a legal right to live there for the rest of your life. The beneficiaries of the trust can be the same people named in your Will.

It’s important to know that implementing trust strategies for Medicaid planning is a complex process. Every client situation has individual characteristics and critical differences, which is why you need a qualified Elder Law firm to make a competent evaluation.

Once the firm’s assessment is complete, your Elder Law attorney can draft a trust that is appropriate for you. You then simply appoint a person to manage the trust, usually one of your children, or a relative or friend, who is referred to as the trustee. Professional trustees are also available for hire if there’s no one you feel completely comfortable with.