You spend a lifetime amassing wealth, and out of the blue, a creditor or business rival tries to snatch it through a lawsuit. You do not need to leave your assets exposed to unexpected attacks or those you come to expect when a business relationship goes awry.

Safeguarding your wealth is a legal strategy that gives you peace of mind that your assets cannot be touched by creditors but will be available to your beneficiaries. You do not need to be a multi-millionaire to benefit from these estate planning tools. Talk to a Staten Island asset protection lawyer to learn how we could help you.

How Assets Can be Attacked and Attached

Assets can be attacked and attached over personal or business matters. Unexpected medical bills, an auto accident, or the need to pay for nursing home care are just as likely as a medical malpractice lawsuit for physicians, a shareholders’ lawsuit against corporate directors and officers for breaching a fiduciary duty, or a spite lawsuit by a former spouse. 

Some asset protection tools include:

  • A variety of irrevocable trusts that separate and protect a person’s assets for a trustee to manage
  • Limited gifts to beneficiaries
  • Medicaid planning
  • Business succession agreements
  • Creating business entities
  • Homestead and other exemptions

An asset protection strategy should be tailored to the needs and goals of the person who owns the assets. An experienced Staten Island attorney knows how to create and implement a customized asset protection plan.

Exempted Assets

When someone is sued over outstanding debts or for losses someone else says they suffered, most assets can be attached and sold to pay those debts and judgments. However, some assets are shielded from seizure to pay judgments and lawsuits. Off-limit assets that cannot be seized include retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and pensions.

 New York homeowners who have homesteaded their property protect their homes from seizure under federal and state law. A portion of the home’s value is exempt from attachment, which is more generous under New York law. A Staten Island asset protection attorney could advise on whether this is a viable option.

Protection from Irrevocable Trusts

Although Domestic Asset Protection Trusts are offered in 17 states, New York has yet to adopt them, although a seasoned Staten Island lawyer could explore whether establishing one in another jurisdiction is possible.

Offshore trusts protect assets when they are moved outside the U.S. to an offshore trustee with the maker as the beneficiary. The New York court does not have jurisdiction over offshore trusts.

Spendthrift trusts are established when a beneficiary is reckless with money and any windfall will probably be spent with abandon. By limiting the way the assets in the trust are allocated to the beneficiary, the beneficiary’s creditors cannot come after what the grantor gives.

Dynasty trusts, unlike other irrevocable trusts that are dissolved after the grantor dies, can last for generations. Dynasty trusts pass wealth down through time and avoid gift, estate, and transfer taxes, as long as there are assets in the trust. 

A Staten Island Asset Protection Attorney Provides Solutions

Life volleys challenges from left field, and those challenges can impact the assets you have spent years building to pass down to your family. There are legal strategies to protect what you have earned from judgments and creditor attachments. 

Protecting what you have amassed demands an attorney who understands myriad federal, state, local, and international laws. The nuances can make or break a plan, so it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who cares. Staten Island asset protection lawyer Louis Lepore is prepared to work with you to create a tailored plan. Call today to get started.