Asset Protection Lawyer
Creditors have a right to pursue your assets in several ways. Individuals, couples, and families can plan for asset protection to retain assets with the help of one of our experienced asset protection attorneys.
Asset Protection Strategies to Protect Your Personal Assets
Creditors may seize unprotected assets under several circumstances. While many assets offer some level of protection against seizure, other assets are vulnerable. Vulnerable assets include individual or joint bank accounts, individual or joint investment accounts, personal property, and real property owned by unmarried persons.
Assets that offer some degree of statutory protection include certain retirement account assets, life insurance proceeds, annuities, spendthrift trust assets, and tenancy by the entirety assets (from a creditor of only one spouse).
You may consider any of these asset protection strategies, or a combination thereof, to suit your needs for asset protection:
- Irrevocable trusts, either independently, or in combination with, or as the natural result of using a revocable living trust as the basis for your estate plan
- Asset protection trusts (particularly in the context of long term care exposure)
- Creation of one or more limited liability companies (LLCs) or similar
- Offshore asset protection trusts
This is not a comprehensive list of all strategies available for asset protection. However, Virginia’s fraud laws prevent hiding assets in response to immediate threats, such as an upcoming lawsuit in a personal injury case or when you owe taxes at the federal, state, or local level.
Protecting Your Assets with an Asset Protection Plan
You may protect assets from creditors using any of several methods. One option is establishing a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT), an irrevocable trust in which the grantor can also be a beneficiary.
However, Virginia is only one of 16 states that recognize DAPTs, and assets withdrawn from the DAPT may be subject to creditors in a non-DAPT state if you move. Ask an asset protection lawyer for more detailed information about DAPT laws.
You may also separate personal assets from business assets by creating a corporation, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership. Business assets in these structures have protection from personal creditors, and you can create multiple LLCs to manage multiple rental properties, vacation homes, and other investments.
Irrevocable trusts offer asset protection, and there are several options to protect assets in an irrevocable trust for different purposes. For example, you may wish to reduce estate taxes for you and your beneficiaries, shelter assets to qualify for government benefits, or simply protect your assets from lawsuits in light of your profession. This is a particularly fruitful means of achieving protection for the assets your loved ones inherit from you, including your surviving spouse, when leveraging the asset protection features of a revocable living trust.
A less secure means of asset protection comes from titling properties under “tenancy by entirety,” which prevents the creditors of one spouse from seizing assets titled under both spouses. Creditors of both spouses may still pursue these assets.
Contact an Asset Protection Lawyer in Central Virginia
The Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel team understands the complex processes of asset protection planning. Call the Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel law firm from anywhere in Central Virginia at 434-589-2958 and from Powhatan at 804-598-1304 to schedule a consultation.