It is an unfortunate fact of life that lawsuits are generally brought against those who have “deep pockets.” Litigators don’t want to go through the time and cost of a drawn-out trial if there is no money to be made; hence, large lawsuits are typically only filed against those individuals who have a significant amount of money out in the open. The following are five of the best strategies that Atlanta asset protection lawyers use to shield their clients from lawsuits.
Create an Asset Protection Trust
Atlanta asset protection attorneys often advise their clients about creating an asset protection trust as a means to shield their assets from divorce, bankruptcy, the government, and litigation. Transferring ownership of your assets to an irrevocable trust can protect you from many of these dangers, however asset protection trusts may actually cause you to have less control over your assets. We suggest speaking with an Atlanta asset protection attorney to determine whether an asset protection trust is viable in your situation.
Create an LLC or Corporation
Small business owners, landlords, and freelancers may often find themselves held personally liable if something goes wrong in their business. This is why Atlanta asset protection lawyers suggest setting up an LLC or Corporation to shield personal assets from any legal attacks on your business. By having one of these structures in place, a person suing you may only attack assets held within the business and not any that are held personally by you.
Set High Limits on Liability Insurance
If you are in line to receive an inheritance or windfall, you’ll want to consider increasing the limits on your personal liability insurance. Atlanta asset protection lawyers typically advise that your liability insurance limit match the amount of your net-worth, but it’s important to discuss the matter with an asset protection attorney in order to accurately determine the state of your current financial situation.
Keep Your Assets Separate
Atlanta asset protection lawyers ask you to consider the fact that when you put money into a joint account, the other person (or persons) named on the account will often automatically have ownership over equal amounts of that money. In addition, when you pass away, the funds held in the joint account may be passed directly to that person(s) outside of your will or trust. Please consider these facts when placing large amounts of money into joint accounts, and consult with an Atlanta asset protection lawyer if you have questions about the consequences of commingling accounts.
It is never too early to plan, but it is sometimes too late. This is especially true if you are being sued and you try to protect assets, as courts will often disallow transfers that reduce your financial liability during a financial crisis. Atlanta asset protection lawyers also want you to keep in mind that in case you plan on applying for any type of government benefits, there are typically look back periods that may penalize asset protection transfers made within a certain timeframe.
If you have any questions about asset protection strategies, please contact us at 770.425.6060 to set up a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at no charge.