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If you are currently a shareholder in a co-op and want to implement an asset protection strategy that involves transferring your shares and proprietary lease to a trust, you will need the co-op board’s approval. This is another good reason to retain an Elder Law firm experienced in addressing these matters. If the board says no, a knowledgeable attorney may still be able to persuade them to change their mind and allow you to move ahead with the plan.

There are several approaches we’ve found that have a track record of success with co-op boards:

  • Explaining the Elder Law plan and why it is important to change the title to the apartment
  • Proving ability to pay the co-op maintenance
  • Agreeing to put money in an escrow account to cover a certain amount of maintenance
  • Entering into an agreement that the trust will be responsible for the co-op’s collection expenses if there’s a problem regarding payment
  • Making a commitment that any occupant of the apartment will be subject to the advance approval of the co-op board
  • Agreeing that the apartment will be sold after the current occupant dies, or transferred only to someone approved by the co-op board.

The goal is to convince the board that the transaction doesn’t hurt the co-op, and can be consummated in a way that won’t expose the building to any additional risk. While no firm can guarantee getting board approval every time, a competent Elder Law attorney should succeed in a large majority of cases.

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