Asset Protection Lawyers
Start protecting your assets as early as possible by working with an asset protection lawyer at TrustCounsel to develop a plan that will shield your assets from liabilities and preserve their value. Asset protection planning will structure your personal and business assets to help limit liability. TrustCounsel’s asset protection lawyers create proper documentation for businesses, design asset protection trusts, and recommend transfers to exempt assets whenever possible to reduce our clients’ risk of financial exposure.
Asset Protection and the Use of Trusts
A revocable trust provides no asset protection for the trust maker during his or her life. Upon the death of the trust maker, however, or upon the death of the first spouse to die if it is a joint trust, the trust becomes irrevocable as to the deceased trust maker's property and can provide asset protection for the beneficiaries, with two important caveats:
- First, the assets must remain in the trust to provide ongoing asset protection. In other words, once the trustee distributes the assets to a beneficiary, those assets are no longer protected and can be attached by that beneficiary's creditors. If the beneficiary is married, the distributed assets may also be subject to the spouse's creditor(s), or they may be available to the former spouse upon divorce. Trusts for the lifetime of the beneficiaries provide prolonged asset protection for the trust assets. Lifetime trusts also permit your financial advisor to continue to invest the trust assets as you have instructed, which can help ensure that trust returns are sufficient to meet your planning objectives.
- The second caveat follows logically from the first: the more rights the beneficiary has with respect to compelling trust distributions, the less asset protection the trust provides. Generally, a creditor 'steps into the shoes' of the debtor and can exercise any rights of the debtor. Thus, if a beneficiary has the right to compel a distribution from a trust, so too can a creditor compel a distribution from that trust.
Chapel Hill asset protection lawyers with TrustCounsel serve North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and New York, helping individuals with assets in multiple states protect their investments. With thorough knowledge of federal and multi-state tax liabilities and legal restrictions, our asset protection lawyers know unique solutions for safeguarding finances. If you’re concerned that your assets may be unnecessarily at risk, schedule a consultation with our asset protection lawyers.