What An Asset Protection Attorney Does
There is one expert you should know about if you want to protect and preserve your hard-earned assets. An asset protection attorney. What is an asset protection attorney? He or she is a specialist in a field that is increasingly becoming more relevant in this litigious age.
Asset protection lawyers can assist you in several ways. They use different strategies to craft an asset protection plan that’s tailor-made for your unique situation. Plus, they help protect you and your assets from lawsuits. Moreover, they make sure your asset protection plan is in step with the changes in your professional and personal life. In addition, they apprise you of all possible options – whether you end up using them or not. So, they perform a delicate balancing act of giving you a measure of control over your assets at the very same time you’re giving them up to protect them. In this day and age, Google seems to have the answer to everything; but an asset protection lawyer is still indispensable.
Asset Protection Strategies
The concept of liability appears to be in a state of constant flux lately. Even states with asset protection laws on their books do not seem to apply the rules evenly. In an attempt to deal with this ambiguity, the industry has spawned a wide range of asset protection instruments. There certainly are more now than there ever were even just three or four years ago. Deciding on which instruments will work best for you can be confusing, to say the least. This is where an asset protection lawyer can be of assistance.
Think of asset protection as a maze. However, it’s not a typical maze where there’s only one way to reach the prize at the end. There are many different ways to go through this maze – each one unique to a person’s own set of circumstances. A good asset protection attorney helps you find your way around this maze. The asset protection strategy that will work for you may not be as effective for another individual. That other person has to find another way through the maze – one that corresponds to their individual goals more closely.
Beware of the asset protection ‘specialist’ who knows of only one way through the maze. An asset protection plan is a customized combination of investment and financial instruments that a lawyer designs for each unique client. Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply wrong. At best, he or she is misinformed, or worse, someone is conning you. Don’t fall for it.
Protect Your Assets from Lawsuits
No asset protection plan is 100 percent impenetrable all the time. But you will often find that having one in place can be an excellent lawsuit deterrent. Predatory claimants don’t want to work too hard to separate you from your assets. Sometimes, all they have to know is that you have a plan in place and they’ll leave you alone. An efficient asset protection lawyer does not have to hide your assets – unless that’s what you want. As long as he or she places them just out of reach of frivolous claimants, they’re doing their job.
A well-crafted asset protection plan is a potent tool in the hands of a skilled asset protection attorney. He or she can use it as a leverage to convince a creditor to settle out of court. Your creditor can try to pierce your plan and go through the expense of a lengthy trial. Or, they can accept a settlement – for cents on the dollar in your favor – and spare everyone the ordeal. Odds are, your creditor will take the deal. You still have to shell out something, of course, but it will likely be nowhere near the original amount demanded.
Asset Protection Attorney in Estate Planning
For a majority of people, estate planning means writing out a will and dealing with inheritance issues. While these can be part of estate planning, they do not constitute the entirety of this complex task. An experienced asset protection attorney knows that asset protection is an important and integral part of estate planning. How do you make sure your beneficiaries will put the assets you leave behind to good use? What can you do to you pass your assets down to your beneficiaries and still qualify for government long-term care assistance? How do you get around a forced heirship regulation? These are just some estate planning issues your asset protection lawyer can help you resolve.
It’s always prudent to review your estate and asset protection plans regularly. You need to make sure the changes in your personal and professional life are reflect and support your plans. A beneficiary may die or fall out of favor. You can start a new business or expand your current one overseas. As you get older, your plans for the use of your assets may change as well. An asset protection lawyer will always be one step ahead of you. In the changes that happen in your life, he or she will see the need to revisit your asset protection and estate plans. Don’t settle for one who drafts an asset protection plan for you and never shows up on your doorstep again.
Domestic Versus Offshore Asset Protection
You can’t have a complete discussion about asset protection without mentioning offshore options. You may think you don’t have a high enough net worth or ample assets to go this route. It’s a common perception that offshore asset protection is an option reserved for the mega-rich. While it’s true that this option is not for everyone, it’s not only for super-rich individuals either. Foreign asset protection vehicles provide something its domestic counterparts cannot. That is the protection of a sovereign country. Offshore jurisdictions have their own asset protection laws, which are often grantor-friendly (if you’re setting up a trust). These locations want to attract foreigners who will establish LLCs or corporations on their land. Of course, they will enact legislation that will favor these investors.
The simple truth is that these offshore jurisdictions add another blanket of protection over your assets. In this litigation-crazy world, the greater distance you can put between your assets and an opportunistic plaintiff, the safer your assets will be. If your asset protection lawyer doesn’t talk about the possibility of using a foreign asset protection instrument, bring it up. Ask about offshore banking / savings account in an overseas LLC and trust. Your assets or your financial goals may not warrant it, but it’s always good to know all your options.
Asset Protection Trust
No one likes giving up control over their assets – especially if you’ve spent a lifetime accruing them through hard work. But an experienced asset protection lawyer knows that giving up a measure of control over your assets is the best way to stay in control of them. This is not empty rhetoric. Consider one of the most basic – and potent – asset protection instruments available – the irrevocable trust. If you create a trust, you build a wall of protection around the different types of assets you own. You no longer own the assets you place in a trust; the trust does. Therefore, if someone sues you for them, they are beyond the reach of your creditors. By the same token, someone ever places the trust assets in jeopardy, your personal assets will remain safe. This is because your personal assets are separate and distinct from the assets held inside the trust.
The asset protection features of a trust become even more powerful when you create an irrevocable trust. Once setup, you cannot readily change the terms of an irrevocable trust without the trustee’s cooperation. If a creditor wins a lawsuit against you and you could change it, the courts could force you to change the beneficiary to your legal opponent. With an irrevocable trust, since you cannot change it directly, the court cannot force you to change the terms of the trust to satisfy a creditor. So in giving up control of your assets, you end up protecting them. In a very real sense, you’re still in control of your assets because you prevented someone from taking them away from you. You kept them exactly where you wanted them to be – safe and secure, away from predatory claimants and nuisance plaintiffs.
Drafting the Trust
An asset protection attorney can help you draft a trust deed that will allow you to retain a level of control over your assets without putting them in harm’s way. You can place certain conditions that have to be met before a discretionary interest is distributed. For instance, a child has to reach a certain age first or graduate from college. With the assistance of a knowledgeable asset protection lawyer, a careful wording of the trust deed means you do not lost complete control of the assets you have worked so hard to build.
Asset protection attorneys know there is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to protecting their client’s assets. The lawyer customizes each asset protection plan to ensure it can provide comprehensive and maximum security. A well-crafted plan can also help protect your assets from a lawsuit or lead to a settlement in your favor. An asset protection lawyer will be proactive in reviewing your asset protection plan regularly. This is so he or she can in turn assure you that the plan continues to support your financial goals and your plans for your assets.
Even though you may not need to use a foreign asset protection instrument, it’s good to stay informed about them. The level of protection they offer is quite unmatched in the asset protection world. Finally, an asset protection attorney knows that the best way to protect your assets is to simply not own them. They help you keep a measure of control over your assets at the same time you are giving them up. It’s a delicate balancing act, but one that a seasoned asset protection lawyer knows only too well.
Do you need an asset protection attorney? Would you like to speak with a consultant with years of experience in protecting assets from lawsuits. Use the contact numbers above or the inquiry form on this page.
Last Updated on April 23, 2019