PB Law Blog... Trusts and Stuff

Friday, June 7, 2019

FAQs about Protecting Your Ass(ets)

Asset Protection typically refers to the process of legally protecting your property/estate from potential creditors, including lawsuits and divorce actions.

Asset protection planning is all about “putting your eggs in different baskets”, so to speak.  We often use various methods and strategies, such as insurance, state & federal “freebies” (i.e. Nevada Homestead Exemption), as well as advanced methods such as the use of LLCs & Nevada Asset Protection Trusts.  Everyone’s plan differs based on their goals, their situation, and their risk-tolerance.

Below you'll find some of the most common questions I’m asked about asset protection, as well as my answers. 

Nevada Asset Protection FAQs

Q: Who Needs Asset Protection? 

A:  Some of the most common clients we see who are concerned about protection their assets are those in “high-risk” professions/industries: think obstetricians, real estate investors, etc.  This is simply because they get sued more than your average bear. 

However, everyone in the US has a risk of being sued- for any reason- which is frightening.  Many people with minimal risk have become concerned about protection their assets when faced with a lawsuit, due to a car accident or sale of their home.    

Because average people can often get caught up in tricky situations, if you have something to protect then the topic of asset protection should at least cross your mind.

Q: How Can You Protect Your Assets from Lawsuits?

A:  This is accomplished through the process of Asset Protection Planning.  Simply put, Asset Protection Planning is the process of taking assets that could be subject to creditors' claims, (sometimes referred to as “non-exempt” assets) and re-characterizing them as “exempt” assets (those that are likely to be out of the reach of creditors’). Nevada increasingly has become a leading domestic trust situs state, due in large part to our favorable trust & asset protection laws and tax environment.

The experienced Asset Protection attorneys at Phillips Ballenger in Las Vegas NV, have expertise in assisting clients with the structuring of their estates, including real property and other assets in a manner that minimizes their exposure to potential creditors.  Formation of trusts, including Nevada Asset Protection Trusts (also known as Nevada Self-Settled Spendthrift Trusts, Nevada Domestic Asset Protection Trusts), Nevada LLCs & other business entities, and counsel regarding maximizing state & federal exemptions are some of the services we offer to the greater Las Vegas area (as well as to clients throughout Nevada & California).

A creditor who initiates litigation against a person who has placed his or her assets into properly formed & maintained Nevada Asset Protection Plan may find that there are very few collectible assets actually owned by the person they wish to sue- making them much less of a lawsuit target.  We commonly use a multi-layered planning approaching, which may include entities such as Nevada Spendthrift Trusts (also known as “Nevada Asset Protection Trusts”, Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust, and various types of business entities (such as Nevada LLCs).   

Q: When Should I Begin to Consider Asset Protection Planning?

A:  As soon as possible!  Asset protection planning cannot begin when a judgment creditor is already on the horizon. Why? Because each state has laws that protect creditors against people transferring assets out of their names with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor (this is known as a “Fraudulent Transfer” or “Fraudulent Conveyance”).  This is a strictly off-limits.   If a Court or Plaintiff suspects a fraudulent transfer has taken place, the Court can simply order that the transfer be reversed and the assets turned over to satisfy the judgement.  As such, the Asset Protection lawyers at Phillips Ballenger recommend beginning planning long before there is any threat of a lawsuit.

Q:  Why Do I Need to Consider Asset Protection?

A:  It’s scary out there!  In Nevada, and throughout the country, people are increasingly using the legal system to unjustly deprive others of their life’s work.  Millions of new lawsuits are filed in the United States every year, many of which are frivolous or settled for sums greater than the actual liability.  Awareness of potential threats to your estate is an essential first step.  Business owners, professionals (such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants), and property owners are all greater targets for suits, simply due to the nature of their work and the types of assets they own.  Without a massive overhaul of our legal system, the risk and potential liability is not going to decline… in fact, the number of lawsuits filed has steadily increased over the past few decades. 

Assets can be at risk due to various threats, including:

  • Tort Claims & Personal Injury Lawsuits, such as: car accidents, slip & falls.
  • Business: Claims arising out of a business context, such as: contract dispute, employment suits, partnership dissolutions; and
  • Contract Claims

Q:  Do I Need Asset Protection Planning if I have Insurance Coverage?

A:  Probably.  While insurance is an important protective barrier against some of these threats discussed previously, it does not always suffice to protect entirely (i.e. exceptions to coverage outlined in the insurance policy, policy coverage limits). Asset Protection Planning adds an additional barrier to protecting your assets & estate to ensure the safest approach to protecting what is truly yours. 

The highly-rated asset protection attorneys at Phillips Ballenger assist professionals, small business owners, property owners, entrepreneurs & others in designing and implementing proven, legally-sound asset protection strategies.  Our goal is to safeguard your estate & assets against potential litigation, judgements, liens, and fraud. 

Attorney Tiffany Ballenger Floyd and her team assists with asset protection matters- please call us at 702-997-5701 or contact us online today to schedule your personalized Asset Protection Consultation.

-by Tiffany Ballenger Floyd, Esq. (Nevada Estate Planning Attorney), © 2019, Phillips Ballenger, PLLC

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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| Phone: 702-997-5701

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