Anyone who has assets should consider an asset protection plan, especially when litigation is on the rise as it is currently.
Asset protection uses legal techniques and statutory and common law to protect the assets of individuals and business entities from monetary civil judgments and charges of tax evasion.
A properly established asset protection plan performs three chief functions: discouraging lawsuits, leverage in settlement negotiation and placing assets beyond the reach of a legal adversary. The estate planning attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP are skilled in all of these areas and would like to go to work for
It is possible for an attorney to implement asset protection planning after a lawsuit or cause of action against the asset, the owner is underway, but it is preferable to use protection planning prior to such an occurrence.
Some asset protection involves implementing financial privacy measures. Other asset protection techniques are simple such as following the advice of your estate planning attorney to be careful not to flaunt your wealth.
Tools Used in Asset Protection
Asset protection plans often consist of multiple legal vehicles. These can include corporations, LLCs (Limited Liability Companies), partnerships, various types of trusts and private banking accounts. These tools are chosen and formed according to the desired level of protection. The protections may include different legal jurisdictions, including foreign countries.
Some of the tools used in asset protection are:
- Family Limited Partnerships—Pursuing assets held in this entity is difficult. An opponent cannot force you to make distributions from the partnership.
- Limited Liability Companies—LLC statutes provide that membership interests and assets in the company are safe from seizure and protected from lawsuits.
- Asset Protection Trusts—Also called “spendthrift trusts,” these are designed to shield assets from creditors. Opponents cannot seize assets to satisfy a judgment. There are specific rules about the way this trust must be established.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)—An irrevocable living trust for primary residences and second homes. This can protect the home from lawsuits and reduce the amount of gift and estate tax when assets are transferred to beneficiaries.
- Living Trusts—Instruments designed to transfer assets to others at death. They can protect assets from probate and death taxes, but it is not recommended that living trusts be used alone as asset protection because there are many areas where they cannot shield the creator of the trust.
- Offshore Asset Protection Services—A few foreign countries offer strong personal financial protection laws and offshore asset protection services. They may be available through your estate planning attorney.
- Offshore Business Entities—Offshore corporation and LLC formation is a quick and inexpensive way to establish immediate financial security and to offer substantial protection and power over assets. When combined with an offshore bank account, assets can be kept out of reach.
- Offshore Banking—It is claimed by asset planning experts that only three of the world’s safest banks are in the US. Thus, many institutions outside the US can provide notable privacy law
protection and international investment opportunities.
- Offshore Trusts—A powerful tool for liquid assets, this is reported to be a good trust for someone with a large bank or investment account. It separates asset control from one’s home jurisdiction and places it in a legal system that does not recognize foreign court orders. Some claim the offshore protection trust is the strongest asset protection tool in the world.
Where Do I Find an Asset Protection Attorney?
You need a professional who understands the legal system and your situation—both personal and from a business viewpoint. A lawyer who specializes in protecting assets will be able to compartmentalize the types of risks you may face. An estate planning attorney from Slater & Zurz LLP law firm will help you design an asset protection plan that works for you and will assist you in maintaining your plan and reviewing and updating it as your financial situation changes.
Where can I find Slater & Zurz LLP?
Slater & Zurz LLP has conveniently-located offices in Akron, Columbus, Cleveland, Canton, Cincinnati, Ohio. Arrangements can be made to meet with a Slater & Zurz Asset Protection Attorney in other locations throughout Ohio if that is more accommodating.
You can set up a meeting with an attorney by calling the law firm at 1-888-534-4850, or you can go to their website at slaterzurz.com and “chat” with a legal representative. You can also contact the firm by filling out a short form on the website that you can electronically send to the law firm. Slater & Zurz offers a 24/7/365 response to your contact.