While it's important to plan for the eventual transfer of your assets at death, it's equally important to protect those assets now for yourself so there might be something to eventually transfer. Enter the world of "asset protection" planning.
So, from what are you protecting your assets anyway? The New York Times addressed the subject of asset protection in a recent article titled "Safeguarding Your Assets Against the Hazards of a Lawsuit."
Before getting lost in the legal weeds of asset protection risks, it should be confirmed right up front that insurance can be your first line of defense. In fact, there are as many types of insurance as there are risks. This is a product where one person literally buys piece of mind (assuming you trust your broker) and pays another to accept their uncommon liabilities and costs in exchange for common payments.
Unfortunately, insurance only provides a certain level of protection. In the end, insurance simply transfers liabilities without eliminating them, and it doesn't work proactively on its own. No, you really need to pay heed to how you structure your assets.Although the "titling" of your assets generally falls under the rubric of "estate planning," proper "asset planning" (regardless whether for estate planning, asset protection planning, or both) is an ongoing life activity.
If you have particular concerns or you're prone to specific risks, asset protection planning for your estate can help ease your worries. Remember, as you read the original article, your individual circumstances and consequent risks will ultimately determine a suitable asset protection plan for you.
Reference: The New York
Times (November 2, 2012) "Safeguarding Your Assets Against the Hazards
of a Lawsuit"