San Diego Asset Protection Attorneys
California has more than its share of individuals and families with significant assets, and those assets may come under assault. The concept of asset protection is simple: find a way to keep your wealth out of the hands of people who want to take it from you. But that’s stated from the point of view of the people with the wealth. From the opposite perspective—that of the people who feels some claim on your wealth—asset protection devices are simply tricks used to deprive worthy claimants of the compensation to which they are entitled. Contact a San Diego asset protection strategies attorney for a free legal consultation and help with your asset protection strategies.
That, in a nutshell, is the asset protection battle: one side setting up obstacles, the other side diligently working on tearing those obstacles down. It’s a battle best fought with the help of experienced estate planning legal professionals who know the current rules of the game and are good at foreseeing how those rules may be changing. And it’s a battle that must be fought anew from time to time as laws change and the amount and type of assets you own changes.
When and Why You Need Asset Protection
The when part is easy: as soon as you have enough assets that losing them would be painful. In practical terms, losing assets is always painful, so the real decision is whether the value of your assets is significantly greater than what it would cost you to develop a plan to protect them.
There is one excellent reason for getting a protection plan as early as financially feasible. If you wait until someone is making a claim against your assets, any asset transfers you make will be challenged as fraudulent transfers.
The why part of the discussion is also pretty simple: there are several situations in which a legal proceeding could result in a court ordering you to pay large sums of money to someone else. Among the most common situations to consider during asset protection planning are:
- Personal injury liability claims against you or your business
- Tax claims, especially against your estate
- Other creditor claims, which can range from suppliers to your business to hospitals caring for you or someone for whose debts you’re liable
Using Limited Liability Business Entities
Modern law recognizes many different types of entities that can limit a person’s liability in the way that only corporations used to be able to do. They include the very popular Limited Liability Company (LLC), some forms of partnerships, and of course, both publicly traded and closely held corporations.
Conducting your business through an entity that offer limited liability limits your exposure to creditors and personal injury claimants. This device can even be used to divide a single business enterprise into several limited liability companies. For example, a dry cleaning operation may consist of a central limited liability company which contracts with multiple other limited liability companies: leasing the dry cleaning equipment from one company, the trucks from another company, and so on. If a customer is injured on the store premises, the assets of the equipment and truck companies would be protected.
Although there is some evidence that courts are becoming more willing to question the limited liability cloak–called “piercing the veil”–these entities provide much better asset protection than sole proprietorships and ordinary partnerships.
Other Asset Protection Strategies
There are numerous other asset protection planning strategies, with specific strategies geared to specific types of exposures. In the personal injury liability arena, simple purchase of insurance to protect against liability from specific activities can be effective. In the marriage and divorce arena, strategies may include postnuptial and pre-nuptial marital agreements and a detailed plan for keeping assets separate from the marital estate. A wide variety of trusts can shield assets from numerous attacks.
The family law attorneys at the Boyd Law Firm in San Diego, California, are sophisticated, trustworthy, and expert at financial matters, with extensive experience protecting the assets of our California high-asset clients. We not only know asset protection strategies, we have extensive experience in the kinds of proceedings for which asset protection plans are designed: liability claims, divorce, and probate litigation.
If you’re just thinking about getting an asset protection plan for the first time, or want to update and review an existing plan, contact us today. Our San Diego asset protection attorneys will review your assets, your concerns, and your potential exposures. We can help you sleep better at night.