Asset Protection

Asset protection is a set of legal techniques and a body of statutory and common law dealing with protecting assets of individuals and business entities from civil money judgments. The goal of all asset protection planning is to insulate assets from claims of creditors without concealment or tax evasion.

Asset protection planning is all about “taking your chips off the table” in good times so that you still can walk away from the table a winner no matter what happens in bad times. Although most people associate asset protection planning with high value individuals, average people and small businesses also often get caught up in difficult situations. Thus, if you have anything to protect, the topic of asset protection should at least cross your mind.

Technically, asset protection planning is the debtor’s side of creditor-debtor law. While creditors are concerned about the strategies and techniques of collection, debtors are interested in the strategies and techniques for protecting their most valuable assets from potential creditors. But in this calculation, it is not just about protecting assets but also about making sure that one does not end up in jail for contempt or bankruptcy fraud for engaging in the process.

A well-designed asset protection plan builds a protective fort around the client’s estate and guard’s family wealth from external creditor attack. Asset protection works best if the asset protection plan contains multiple layers of protection so that even if a creditor can defeat one protective device, there are other impediments to the creditor’s attack which surround the family’s nest egg. Asset protection is, therefore, a fundamental building block of estate planning.

Asset protection planning is absolutely legal; however, planning to defraud your creditors is not. There is a sharp dividing line between the two. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced advisor and discuss the timing of your planning prior to taking any action.