Asset protection for your own assets while you're alive when compared with asset protection for your spouse and other beneficiaries after you die are two different things.
Asset Protection for Your Own Assets
For your own assets, the key to protecting them is to start with a comprehensive financial plan, including calculating your net worth and assessing your retirement goals. This financial plan should then be coupled with a solid foundational estate plan and advanced planning such as the use of irrevocable life insurance trusts, family limited liability companies, and charitable planning. Your financial plan coupled with your estate plan will then lead to asset protection.
Asset Protection for Your Surviving Spouse
For your surviving spouse, asset protection is built right into the AB Trust or ABC Trust system since the A, B and C Trusts are irrevocable and will be funded with assets not owned by the surviving spouse. This combination of factors will lead to protecting your estate for the benefit of your spouse. Aside from this, retirement plans that the surviving spouse rolls over into their own plan or that become part of the A, B or C Trust will remain protected.
Asset Protection for Your Other Beneficiaries
Protecting your other beneficiaries who will inherit your property after you die from creditors, lawsuits, and divorcing spouses should be an important benefit that is built right into your estate plan. This can be accomplished by establishing lifetime trusts for the benefit of your other beneficiaries as opposed to leaving their inheritance outright or in stages such as at ages 25, 30, and 35. As with the AB Trust or ABC Trust system, a lifetime trust that is set up for a child or other beneficiary is irrevocable and will be funded with assets not owned by the beneficiary, thereby leading to asset protection. But unlike retirement plans left to a spouse, you'll need to leave retirement plans to the lifetime trusts for your beneficiaries or to a special IRA Trust in order for the retirement assets to remain protected.