You spend your entire life working towards financial stability and acquiring property. While you may feel secure in your assets, it only takes one successful lawsuit to undo it all. The United States is the most litigious country in the world, with 90% of all lawsuits worldwide originating here. Once you come to understand this, you might realize that it’s incredibly important to find and hire a New York attorney versed in asset protection. Such attorneys can show you the best ways to protect yourself from litigation moving forward. The ultimate goal of an asset protection attorney is to protect your assets so that they may be passed on to your loved ones.
What Does Asset Protection Planning Mean?
Asset protection planning is how one protects their assets against anyone who files legal claims against them. This includes litigants filing lawsuits as well as creditors. Asset protection planning aims to maintain your estate and help you pass it onto your chosen beneficiaries or heirs, legally circumventing the usual probate court proceedings. This is also known as estate planning, and it’s the goal of an attorney helping you in estate planning to preserve your wealth and assets.
As part of their job, an asset protection attorney will keep track of all your current and future creditors to give you an accurate assessment of the risks you face. They also help you to plan the right structure for estate planning relative to your needs. This is the first necessary step to securing your assets for the future.
Estate planning and asset protection go further than that, though. Along with evaluating your assets and seeking ways to protect them from potential litigants, estate attorneys can devise plans to keep your assets outside of court jurisdiction and can also utilize strategies to minimize taxation that may fall on your estate.
Who Could Sue Me?
You might be surprised by the number of people who have the potential to sue you. Though it varies with your personal situation, the list includes (but isn’t limited to):
- A spouse, former or current
- As a business owner, you could be sued by your partner or any of your customers for a variety of reasons
- You could also be sued by shareholders. Or, if you are a shareholder, you could be sued by another shareholder
- You could be sued if you are involved in an accident or if one takes place in your work or your home. In such instances, you could be also be sued if you don’t have the appropriate kind(s) of insurance
- You can be sued by banks over credit card debt
Any litigation from these or other sources can quickly drain your finances and, if you lose the case, take away some or all of your assets. That’s why it’s best to look into asset protection planning far in advance of potential litigation. By the time you are sued, it’s likely too late to reduce the damage by a meaningful amount. Many people fail to realize this and only learn the real value of asset protection planning once someone has taken action against them. But if you start protecting yourself beforehand, you’ll know what to do to minimize your exposure to risk. You’ll be in a much more secure place when you partner with an asset protection attorney and start a plan to safely structure your assets against lawsuits.
Who Is Most Likely to Be Sued?
Because lawsuits usually end with the transferring of wealth from one party to another, some individuals are at a higher risk than others. This includes people who are perceived to have a lot of money – such as business owners – or those in occupations that carry a great deal of responsibility, such as medical professionals. This doesn’t mean that individuals who don’t fall into the above categories are “safe”, however, and it’s important to plan ahead even if you think trouble is unlikely. A good attorney will be able to adjust your asset structure in accordance with changes in your life. These preemptive measures are the easiest way for you to stay ahead of any lurking risks to your assets.
How Can an Attorney Protect Me from Creditors?
Anyone who has ever had to deal with a creditor knows how aggressive they can be. Thankfully, there are a number of different legal strategies attorneys can use to protect you and your assets from creditors. Many involve setting up a trust, such as an offshore trust, irrevocable trust, domestic asset protection trust, and special needs trusts. Other popular options are gifts and homestead exemptions. An attorney can explain the pros and cons of each option, but ultimately, regardless of the specific structure you follow for your assets. an attorney will handle your assets in a way helps you avoid losses that may result from future lawsuits while netting you sizable tax advantages.
Begin Planning Today
The firm of Ortiz & Ortiz has the legal experience and knowledge to protect your assets from future litigation. But you need to act early to get the most protection possible. Don’t wait until someone sues you to make the call—by then, it’s too late to restructure your assets and keep them safe. When you partner with one of our professional attorneys, they’ll begin working with you right away to construct a plan to protect and preserve your estate. And with over fifty years of experience, you can take comfort knowing you’re getting the best from Ortiz & Ortiz.