Asset Preservation

Protect Your Assets for the Next Generation

At Terrazas Henkel, P.C., we know how hard you’ve worked to earn what you have in your life. We also know you love your family and want to know they’ve got what they need. Our goal is to guide you through the asset preservation process so your children and grandchildren are left with the legacy you intended.

Ways Your Estate Can Be Reduced — And How To Ensure Preservation of Your Assets

Living longer means we’re also likely to end up with a severe health issue or need long-term care. While Medicaid and Medicare cover the costs of much of this long-term care, it only kicks in once your personal assets have been depleted. With soaring health care and long-term care costs, even a large estate can quickly be exhausted.

Federal estate taxes are another concern. Large estates are subject to a 40 percent federal tax upon transfer. This means almost half of a large estate could be lost to taxes.

Through strategic planning, however, there are ways to protect your assets against depletion. Common asset preservation strategies include:

  • Trusts — Trusts are one of the most effective ways to protect assets against depletion and from creditors. Our attorneys will sit down with you, review your assets, and discuss your goals, then establish the type of trust that is best for you and your family.
  • Lifetime gifts — Gifting is another effective way to transfer assets. However, it must be done strategically. There is a federal gift tax on transfers over a certain amount. Our firm will develop a gifting plan that allows you to transfer large assets, such as interests in a ranch, to other individuals while minimizing estate and transfer taxes.
  • Beneficiary deeds and designations — Certain properties and bank accounts can be transferred immediately upon death. This can help reduce the need for probate and the costs associated with it. Our lawyers will examine your assets to determine whether transfer or pay on death can be established. We can also review your beneficiary designations to ensure that they are consistent with your estate plan.


Many of these strategies can also provide tax savings. If your estate is large enough that it will be subject to federal estate taxes, transferring assets out of your estate can effectively reduce its size so as to avoid these taxes.

Learn More About Asset Preservation

For more information about our estate planning and asset preservation strategies, call 406-541-2550, or contact our firm online. Our office is in Missoula, and we serve clients throughout western Montana.