Charlottesville Asset Protection Attorney
You worked hard for your assets, but one lawsuit could jeopardize everything you have achieved. The smart move is to protect all your assets to the greatest extent possible. But what legal options are available?
Our legal team works with men and women whose assets are at risk of being seized. We have helped dentists, lawyers, doctors, accountants, and small business owners take the steps necessary to protect themselves from creditors. However, anyone who fears litigation could benefit from our services. Contact a Charlottesville asset protection lawyer today.
What Is Asset Protection?
At base, asset protection involves moving or retitling assets so that they are no longer exposed to creditors. When a person does not own an asset, their creditors cannot take it. It is that simple.
Asset protection can be a part of estate and tax planning. However, it can also be done at any time by someone who is worried about exposure to liability. We encourage you to consult a Charlottesville asset protection attorney today to find out more whether this is a strategy you could benefit from.
Is Asset Protection Legal?
Generally, yes. But there are legal and illegal methods of protecting assets. We only practice legal asset protection.
One key consideration is timing. If you protect assets right now, before you see any lawsuits on the horizon, then asset protection is definitely legal. It might become illegal if you know you are being sued and you try to put assets out of the reach of a creditor.
In addition to timing, some asset protection techniques might themselves be illegal. But a skilled attorney would never recommend them.
What Are Some Ways to Legally Protect Assets?
There are many. For example, a Virginia resident can shield most retirement accounts and 529 savings plans from a creditor claim. However, there are maximum amounts you can put in those plans each year, and the law limits the amount you can protect. Maxing out retirement contributions is a low-effort asset protection technique.
Other techniques can include using life insurance or annuities. In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law exempting them from creditors. These are two simple techniques that might be appropriate on their own or in conjunction with other asset protection measures.
For clients with more complicated estates or more wealth, our attorneys might use a variety of trusts to shield assets. A trust owns title to assets but our client or a family member can remain a beneficiary of the trust. Trusts can be located in Virginia, another state, or a foreign country. Two trusts our clients use are the Qualified Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust and the Qualified Personal Residence Trust. These are irrevocable trusts, meaning our client cannot claw back the asset in most situations.
Business entities are another asset protection tool. For example, a limited liability company (LLC) can hold assets to real estate, motor vehicles, and other valuable property. By placing the assets in the LLC, they are out of the reach of a creditor. Even better, LLCs can be formed in such a way that it is hard to find out the true owner of the company.
Contact a Charlottesville Asset Protection Attorney Today
The lawyers at MichieHamlett have created many asset protection plans for our clients. Let us provide peace of mind today. Contact us to schedule a consultation.