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.