Asset Protection and
Elder Law

Elder Law Attorney Serving the Greater Boston Area

Preserve your home and estate for your loved ones

Without proper protection planning, most or all of the assets that you have worked so hard to build can be lost to creditors or taken to pay for the costs of care.

By working with a knowledgeable elder law attorney to create a solid and effective asset protection plan, you and your loved ones can enjoy the benefits of your labors. Such a plan can protect your estate from creditors, an assisted living facility or nursing home care.

Asset protection is an important estate planning tool for the elderly to ensure that you can live a good life in old age, and that your spouse, your family, and other beneficiaries are provided for following your death.

Grandparents in their modern livingroom playing with grandchild

What is Asset Protection Planning?

Asset protection planning is the process of making sure that your assets are protected from creditors and do not end up in the hands of people you not want, or never met before.

Deciding to create an asset protection plan requires one to be aware of the fact that lawsuits, either just or not, can be brought by creditors, disgruntled employees/customers and others who claim you are the cause of their injuries.

If a lawsuit against you is brought and won by the accuser, your family and estate could go bankrupt trying to pay off such judgments. A properly crafted asset protection plan would prohibit certain assets from being taken from your estate in order to satisfy a judgment that has been won against you or your spouse.

The key to a solid asset protection plan is that it must be put in place before a suit has been brought. Attempting to shield your assets from judgment after a suit has been brought could be considered an act of fraud, and ultimately could create more difficulties and complications for you, your family and your estate. In fact, the court could even reverse any transfer of assets that are made after a suit has been brought against you.

In a nursing home, a senior woman and daughter wrap their arms around each other's back while facing out the large glass window

Asset Protection and the 5 Year Look Back

Protecting your home and other assets from the cost of long-term care generally needs to happen 5 years prior to needing benefits. Medicaid or MassHealth denies benefits for gifts and transfers made fewer than 5 years prior to applying.

Asset Protection Tools

There are quite a few asset protection tools available that can be used to protect or move your assets so they cannot be reached by creditors, including the following.

A trust—When you create a trust, you set up a separate legal entity, which can hold title to property. Once you transfer assets into a trust (provided the trust is not revocable), you no longer have legal title to them, so they cannot be attached by a creditor. You may be a beneficiary of the trust, with an interest that can be subject to a lien, but the property is safe from creditors. A trust can be created by your will as a testamentary trust, or can be set up separately during your life as a living trust. Read more on Trust Definitions.

A homestead declaration—The homestead declaration allows you to protect up to $500,000 of equity in your home from creditors. The homestead declaration will not, however, shield your estate from claims under a mortgage, or against any prior recorded liens. In addition, state, federal and local governments will still be able to file tax liens, and other claims and assessments against the home. In Massachusetts, a homestead does not protect your home from long-term care costs. Read more on Homestead Declaration.

Other asset protection tools include the retitling of assets, the use of limited liability companies and partnerships, and the maximization of IRA contributions.

happy elderly woman with nurse at home

Contact Us

Complete our online form to Schedule a Free Consultation or call Baker Law Group at 781-996-5656 or 800-701-0352 to set up a confidential meeting. Consultations are available by phone or at one of our offices in Hingham, Plymouth, Brockton, and Holliston.