Robert is using an Asset Protection Trust to take care of his seventy-eight-year-old father and to establish a succession plan for the family business. Here is his story.
Robert is a fifty-four-year-old co-owner of a towing service, originally from Medford. Even after working long hours, Robert does his best to attend his two daughters’ high school softball games and to video-chat with his son, who is studying abroad in Germany this semester. With one child in college and two more planning to attend, Robert knows that financial planning is key to protecting his family’s future.
In addition to being a devoted father of three children, he remains a loving son to his own father, seventy-eight-year-old Walter. Walter is in reasonably good health for his age and refuses to retire. Walter founded the towing business in the early 1960s, beginning with one truck and a few parking spaces he rented from a friend’s service station.
At first he only serviced Medford, but then expanded into Malden and Everett. When Robert came of age and joined the business in the 1980s, he helped his father set up a new headquarters in the Boston area, a purpose-designed tow yard in the Brighton area. Despite the high number of competitors in the neighborhood, the father-and-son business thrived.
A few years ago, Ethel, wife to Walter and mother to Robert, died of complications from a bad fall and a broken hip. In her last months, family were more concerned with keeping her comfortable than pressing her for legal decisions. As such, after her passing, family were left only with a twenty-year-old will, which named since-deceased family and friends as beneficiaries, to guide them in fulfilling her last wishes.
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Logistical stress only compounded the grief of losing his mother for Robert; he began to think more seriously about his own affairs, including what would happen to the family business.
Unfortunately, Walter is a bit less sold on the idea of financial planning and getting his affairs in order. “I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” He says whenever Robert brings up the topic. “Quit trying to bury me before I’m dead.”
Robert, however, knows that planning is best not only for his father, but for him, his children, and the family business. Robert has settled on an asset protection trust—which is just as functional in life as it is after, making it an easier sell to his father, who is stubborn when it comes to considering his own mortality.
With an asset protection trust, Walter and Robert’s towing business is shielded from excess liability in case of civil suits. Additionally, provisions in the trust provide instructions on succession—including individual scenarios for if Walter should retire, become incapacitated, or pass away–and the financial mechanisms Robert will need to protect the business during the time of transition. Should Walter need to move into assisted living, the trust also provides him with an income to supplement, but not endanger, his Social Security and Medicare payments.
Seeing the multiple benefits of an asset protection trust, even Walter is sold on Robert’s plan.
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At Gosselin Law, we have years of experience working with small business owners in a variety of industries. We understand what it takes to run a business and we have worked with many clients like Robert and his father. We have changed the name and identifiable details of this character in order to protect our client’s privacy. This story captures the circumstance and type of clients Gosselin Law has helped over the past 25 years. If you see yourself in this story, or are otherwise considering how to put your estate in order and preserve your wealth, call our offices today.