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The ultimate goal of a New York asset protection attorney is to protect your assets so they may be passed on to your loved ones.

Ortiz & Ortiz is a renowned New York firm that has been handling financial and estate planning matters for more than 30 years. We serve you in the 5 boroughs of New York and you can make your inquiry by phone, email or book a virtual consultation right now.

The best New York asset protection attorney near you

The truth is that 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. Our New York estate planning attorney can show you the best ways to protect yourself from litigation moving forward. 

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Asset Protection Laws in New York

There are specific laws that differ from state to state, and the same is true for the current New York law.

  • All real estate with a value of $ 75,000 to $ 150,000 is protected from creditors.
  • The same happens with books, animals, and clothing;
  • Watches and rings with a value of up to $ 1,000 are also protected.

Whether you have a business, a home, jewelry, or other liquid assets, you’ve worked hard in life to accumulate them for years. Besides the economic value they are invaluable to you or your family.

Hence the importance of hiring experienced asset protection attorneys in New York City. If you owe someone money and you are worried that you won’t be able to pay your debts, now is the time to protect your assets.

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.

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, associate or any of your customers for a variety of reasons such as FLSA lawsuits;
  • You could also be sued by shareholders or, if you are a shareholder, you could be sued by another shareholder;
  • Medicaid for nursing home costs;
  • 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 also be sued by banks over credit card debt.
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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?

Since 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.

Combine your estate plan with asset protection

It is highly recommended to complete a properly prepared wealth plan with a comprehensive asset protection strategy. You will want to synchronize your estate plan and asset protection structure in a way. That will favor the fact that when the estate goes through probate and the assets need to be distributed you don’t encounter legal complications with your trust.

How Can Our New York Asset Protection Attorney Protect You 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 living wills and trusts, such as an offshore trust, irrevocable trust, domestic asset protection trust, and special needs trusts.

  • 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.
  • Our attorney will help protect your assets in the event your spouse decides to leave you and sue you for half of what is yours.
  • We will help you avoid excess taxation on your assets by using different legal methods of protection. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Selling highly appreciating assets to beneficiaries in exchange for self-canceling promissory notes;
    • Utilizing charitable deduction;
    • Leveraging annual gift tax exclusion to pay for life insurance premiums.
  • We will create a trust and an estate so that your assets can’t be legally taken to court in the event that you are taken to court and a creditor comes after you. This will also protect your children and grandchildren who might inherit your assets upon your death.

Note: In reference to this point, you may be interested in reviewing our articles “When someone dies who is responsible for their debt” and “Joint bank account with parent and parent dies”. You might also be interested in checking out the laws regarding the spousal right of election in New York or in learning more about inheritances in our New York inheritance lawyers section.

Asset protection FAQs and different possible scenarios

asset protection in new york

Here we are going to cover some of the most common questions that we get in the office. Please understand that each situation as well as each person is different and to evaluate your case we will need to know more details. 

Do not hesitate to contact us in a personalized and 100% confidential consultation. Many of our clients say they feel relief after our initial consultation. 

Do I really need asset protection?

Yes, the fact that you are innocent doesn’t imply that the court will be on your side. Sadly, jurors sometimes side with the plaintiff who seems to need the funds in question instead of the defendant who they assume has money to spare.

In these cases even the personal feelings of a judge can jeopardize your situation.

Although the ideal is to plan in advance, do not give up everything if you already have a lawsuit against you. It is not too late to protect your assets. Call us and let us know your case as soon as possible. We can still do a lot to protect your assets.

Does an Irrevocable Trust protect me from creditors?

Yes, since the assets you put in the trust are no longer yours. You can name a trustee to make distributions to your friends and family but not to yourself.

Note: In our New York irrevocable trust article you will find extensive information about this type of trust. Additionally, you will find further information for our services related to trusts in our section NY trust lawyers.

Have you been involved in an accident?

In these cases, even if it is a minor accident, the claims against you can be substantial. You could be sued for emotional or physical damages. It is important that you protect your assets with reputable attorneys such as those at Ortiz & Ortiz.

Do you owe money to a lender?

In difficult economic times, banks and lenders pursue borrowers’ assets aggressively and diligently.  This means that it is not enough to set up the most basic asset protection structures like revocable trusts. To defeat the claim of a lender, especially a bank, the asset protection structures used, need to be sophisticated and difficult to penetrate.

  • Our attorney will help you create sophisticated and difficult-to-penetrate asset protection structures.
  • With the right structure, lenders will be much more willing to negotiate and they will stop chasing your assets so aggressively.

Are you planning to get divorced?

Divorces are usually draining, both financially and emotionally. Community property laws and the unpredictability of judges can increase the overall cost and pain of the process. Let us plan ahead for you to reduce the pain and cost of a divorce.

Can I protect my child’s inheritance from creditors or divorce?

Yes, you can do this by placing those assets in the trust of an heir.

Should I leave my IRA to my children in a trust?

The reality is that in New York State, an inherited IRA (individual retirement account) is not protected from the creditors of the beneficiary, so if the beneficiary has debts, this is a good reason to make a trust the beneficiary of a retirement account.

Note: The Secure Act eliminated the lifetime stretch which was available to adult children inheriting an IRA (except for a disabled child). Therefore, the proceeds of the IRA would have to be distributed within 10 years. In a scenario where the amount of the IRA is substantial, this could pose serious tax issues or at least, limit the usefulness of the trust. An option here would be naming a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) as the beneficiary of the IRA which will allow you to stretch payments to the child or multiple beneficiaries over their lifetime.

Protecting your high-risk business

We know first-hand that many professions and businesses carry financial risks that insurance alone cannot do much against. In cases of medical malpractice, insurance does not cover many claims. The same goes for small business owners, builders or real estate developers.

For over 30 years our New York asset protection attorney has represented corporate directors, physicians, real estate developers amongst other high-risk professionals. Let us shield your assets from these risks.

How can I protect my assets from a lawsuit on my rental or business property?

In case of owning a property or business that generates income in your own name, all assets are subject to creditors and lawsuits. If you form or incorporate an LLC, your liability is limited to the assets held by that business. This is the reason why you should set up an LLC for each piece of property you own.

new york business lawyers

In addition to estate planning attorneys, we are bankruptcy experts and experienced business lawyers in New York. If you are looking for a way out of a delicate financial situation, do not hesitate to contact our office today.

Other popular options are gifts and homestead exemptions. An asset protection attorney in New York can explain the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, regardless of the specific structure you follow for your assets, an attorney will handle your assets in a way that 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. With over 30 years of experience, you can take comfort knowing you’re getting the best from Ortiz & Ortiz.