Have you ever wondered where the phrase “Luck of the Irish” comes from? Historians have revealed that the phrase isn’t as old as some may think—it’s not as old as St. Patrick’s Day itself, a holiday first recorded in 1601. “Luck of the Irish” dates back to the 1850s, when gold and silver mining was in its heyday. Some of the most successful, famous miners were Irish or Irish-American. The Irish ability to find gold led to the use of “Luck of the Irish.”
In law, we believe there’s no such thing as luck, only strong preparation and careful planning. Take your luck into your own hands through careful asset protection.
What is Bad Luck?
Obviously, there is no legal definition of “bad luck,” and we doubt attempting to come up with one would hold weight in court. However, there are certainly some negative events that might lead you to feel blighted. We’ll cover ways to prepare for these unlucky times, including death, sickness, and accidents and lawsuits, below.
There’s no way to prevent death, but you might have thought about what will happen to your assets after you die. There might be important things that you own that you want to keep in the family (and out of probate court).
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament will not get you out of probate court—it still has to pass through the court process—but it is often peoples’ starting point when they think about how to structure their affairs after they die. A last will and testament is a final document arranging your asset division.
In Florida, for a last will and testament to be valid, it must meet several requirements. These include:
(1) The will must be in writing.
(2) The person making the will (known as the testator) must sign it.
(3) The testator’s signature must be at the bottom of the will.
(4) The testator must sign the will while in the presence of two witnesses.
(5) The two witnesses must sign the will in the presence of each other and the testator.
As with anything in law, there are a million sub-rules for each of those five categories, which is why it is important for you to hire an attorney. The attorney will make sure the will is compliant with the law, avoiding any problems in court when it comes time to validate the will.
A trust is a three-party relationship. You, the donor, transfer assets and/or property into a trust. The trust is controlled by the trustee until you give the trustee permission to hand over the assets to a third party, the beneficiary. The beneficiary is the final person you intend to receive the assets. A trust is a way to avoid probate court.
If it’s not death that’s considered the unluckiest of ailments, sickness is certainly a strong contender. And, if you’ve been alive in the past year, you know that sickness is everywhere. More than ever, it’s important to have safeguards set up in the case of illness. Examples of these safeguards include a healthcare directive and power of attorney.
A healthcare directive is a set of instructions for the doctors and nurses taking care of you if you are sick. You might have specific wishes for your care, and you will want to communicate these wishes, no matter how sick you are. A directive lays out these instructions in advance, protecting you even if you’re too incapacitated to tell the doctors and nurses what you want.
Power(s) of Attorney
A power of attorney is a trusted person that you place in charge of your financial and/or healthcare affairs in the event that you’re too sick to take care of yourself. This person will act as your agent, making decisions about your finances and healthcare until you recover.
Accidents and Lawsuits
Lawsuits can be the Grim Reaper for your personal assets. Personal asset protection is a way to place assets out of reach of creditors.
Personal Asset Protection
One common example of personal asset protection is the creation of an irrevocable trust. You place your assets into this trust, and they will be shielded from creditors and controlled by a trustee. You will not be able to remove the assets from the trust, but they will be safe from lawsuits and kept for your family.
Another common way to protect your personal assets is to purchase an umbrella policy. This “just in case” insurance policy provides more coverage than your regular auto or home policy in the event of personal injury (for example, if you are in a car accident or someone is injured on your property). Umbrella policies cost extra, but they will give you peace of mind, which is priceless.
As you can see, the way to have the “Luck of the Irish” is to simply be prepared. Bad things happen, and the best offense is a good defense. Contact an attorney for more information on boosting your own “luck” through careful estate planning.
Visit our website to get even more details on how to take cover.