You have worked hard your whole life to provide your family with everything they need, and that includes making sure they will be taken care of when you are gone. However, there may be a gaping hole in your estate plan—one that the IRS or unscrupulous predators can use to drain your loved ones’ inheritances. Third-parties often file claims against people of high net worth, and these lawsuits have the potential to wipe out your assets during or after your lifetime—and the failure to build the next level of protection can result in tremendous financial and emotional suffering for you and your loved ones.
At The Estate Planning Law Center, we have handled a significant number of trusts after our clients have passed away, and we have learned a big lesson that applies to many large estates: your living trust is not enough. Our asset protection services can ensure that your wealth is protected from legal claims, divorce settlements, creditor actions, and other judgments, all while working to minimize income tax and keep inheritances intact. Call us today to schedule your initial consult with California asset protection attorney Richard M. Seff.
What Is Asset Protection?
Asset protection is a collection of legal actions that prevent creditors, divorcing spouses, and other parties from claiming your assets. These actions serve many different purposes, including deterring future lawsuits, minimizing the amount of potential assets available in a claim, and giving you more power in settlement negotiations. When done correctly, asset protection can make it extremely difficult for someone to take your assets—even if a suit ends in a judgment against you.
The goals of asset protection vary from person to person, but often include:
- Protecting savings, investments, real estate, future income, and other valuable assets from lawsuits
- Selecting the right person with the best leadership and management skills to manage real estate and other investments when you are no longer able
- Prevent loved ones from fighting with the selected manager about the management of your real estate and other investments after your death
- Stop disgruntled or greedy beneficiaries from forcing “fire sales” of your assets
- Protecting loved ones’ inheritances from the claims of spouses, creditors, lawsuits, and the IRS
Why Does My Estate Plan Need Asset Protection?Asset protection is vital in minimizing the amount you will pay if someone makes a claim against your estate. How much the settlement will be depends on the amount that can legally be accessed and the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s argument. Since creditor actions almost always settle before going to court, asset protection allows you to make your holdings less available, expanding your bargaining power. As a result, these important planning options could wind up saving you and your loved ones millions of dollars. We offer many different asset protection options, including:
Single Member Limited Liability Company.
The creation of a SMLLC allows each of your business holdings to remain separate, and for your business debts and liabilities to remain separate from your personal liability. Assets are “owned” by the SMLLC, and any claims against them cannot seek additional payment from you or your other holdings.
The Bridge Trust.
The Bridge Trust provides ultimate asset protection, as it allows wealth to be registered off-shore while maintaining its domestic status for tax and administrative purposes. If a legal claim is filed, wealth is moved to the offshore jurisdiction, out of the reach of U.S. court authority.
Asset Management Limited Partnership.
The AMLP allows holders to protect liquid assets (such as cash, investments, and securities) by limiting creditor access, effectively giving the holder more leverage in settlement negotiations.Although many people begin asset protection once they have been named in a lawsuit, it should ideally be started before legal proceedings begin. Asset protection is commonly included in an estate plan because it uses both business and estate planning laws, and many of the provisions survive the holder’s death. When properly implemented, assets may change hands to a new manager and continue to be held by the trust or partnership, offering comprehensive protection from debts and legal judgments for the lifetime of the company.
Contact Us Today to Learn More
Every one of our estate plans is tailored to our individual clients’ needs, and our asset protection services are no different. We being by reviewing your particular situation, your assets, and any pending judgments, and only then do we recommend the best course of action for you. Call us at (818) 462-8400or (310) 819-9005 to schedule your initial consultation with Woodland Hills asset protection attorney Richard M. Seff today.