You may have heard rumors of someone defaulting on loan payments only to have their property seized soon after, or perhaps you’ve seen a film where unhappy customers sue small business owners for everything they have. You most likely will not know that these people could have avoided losing much of their property if they had hired asset protection attorneys beforehand.
What is Asset Protection?
In fantasy worlds dragons protect their assets by vigilantly watching over them, but in the real world twenty-four hour surveillance will not protect you from your assets being seized. The legal act of asset protection provides you with the steps necessary to protect your property or your estate from creditors who may have won a lawsuit against you. Losing or even simply engaging in a lawsuit can be financially crippling. Asset protection ensures that creditors such as banks or loan companies have limited access to your valuable assets.
Asset protection has to comply with specific state debtor-creditor laws to ensure that illegal practices such as fraud, tax evasion or concealment are avoided. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as well as federal bankruptcy laws prevent retirement plans from being viewed as seize-worthy assets. Many states also exempt homestead property as well as personal property, such as clothing or toiletries, from being deemed assets.
So How Do I Protect My Assets?
The best legal way to prevent your assets from being seized after a lawsuit is through asset protection planning. Anyone can be sued, whether by unhappy customers, by a bank demanding credit card payments or even after a car accident. For this very reason asset protection planning is not something for the ultra rich – rather, it is a worthy investment for anyone wanting to ensure their property or estate remain secure.
The process of asset protection planning should ideally occur before a claim is made or a lawsuit arises. Many states have laws that make it particularly difficult to implement protective measures whilst in the middle of a legal battle. Although there are ways to protect your property while you are in the middle of a lawsuit, it is far easier to do so beforehand in order to prevent potential property loss.
Once you have created an asset protection plan, it is important to maintain contact with your attorney. Over the years assets change, and consequently protection plans have to be regularly updated.
Why Do I Need an Asset Protection Attorney?
If you are considering asset protection, you most likely will have done some research and may have discovered a large number of online DIY kits and advice packages. These kits claim that anyone can set up a trust and protect their property without the help of a qualified attorney.
However, due to the sensitive and complicated nature of asset protection, it is always recommended to hire a specialized attorney that is well versed in the ins and outs of property and estate protection laws. Trying to DIY asset protection could potentially get you into trouble – you might accidently commit fraud or tax evasion – and result in the loss of the assets you were trying to protect.
Hiring an asset protection attorney will ensure that everything you do with your property is perfectly legal. Because different people have different types of assets, experienced attorneys know that they have to tailor each individual asset protection plan to specific clients. There is no specific formula or guide that can be used – asset protection planning is a highly specialized process that involves participation from both you, the client, and your attorney. Attorneys such as Gary I. Handin can create client-specific plans that will protect your assets for years to come.
Regardless of your financial status, asset protection planning is your best option for keeping your property safe from creditors. Contacting an asset protection attorney is the first step towards making sure your assets are safeguarded for years to come.