Mistakes in Asset Protection Planning

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  1. Not Understanding the Purpose of Asset Protection: Asset protection will not make you “judgment proof.” Asset protection may improve your negotiating position by making it harder for judgment creditors to get your assets.
  2. Believing That It Is Too Late To Protect Assets: Its never too late to improve protection. Late asset protection can still help as long as you don’t try to hide assets and lie under oath to your creditors.
  3. Thinking Creditors are Stupid or Lazy: Don’t underestimate the skill and intelligence of your adversaries. Creditors and their attorneys are not stupid. Do not invent asset protection schemes and believe your creditors will not understand what you did.
  4. Hiding Assets : There are no longer any secrets in this world. You cannot hide assets, offshore or anywhere else, to protect the assets from creditors, the IRS, or former spouses.
  5. Fraudulent Transfers and Conveyances: You cannot protect assets by giving them to family members.
  6. Falling For Asset Protection Promoters and Scams: As asset protection planning has gained popularity, there are many companies promoting complicated asset protection devices such as establishing Nevada or Wyoming companies or offshore trusts. These promoters are usually not attorneys. Their plans are overpriced and usually will not work well in a courtroom in real cases. Beware of non-lawyers selling asset protection plans.
  7. Confusing Estate Planning With Asset Protection: Asset protection is part of estate planning, but a living trust or self-settled irrevocable trust does nothing to protect your assets from creditors.
  8. Confusing Bankruptcy Law and Asset Protection Law: The new bankruptcy law does not affect Florida’s unlimited homestead exemption and other exemptions outside bankruptcy court. You have less protection in bankruptcy court than you do in state court, and filing bankruptcy is usually a last resort.
  9. Giving Up Control Over Your Assets: The easiest asset protection plan is to give someone else control over your wealth. This is not a good solution in most cases; however, in some situations giving up some control is your only alternative.
  10. Paying Large Fees For Complicated Asset Protection Plans: The best asset protection is the simplest asset protection. Many promoters and some attorneys try to convince clients that effectiveness is a function of how much money you spend on complicated asset protection devices and multiple layers of entities. Good asset protection is not necessarily expensive.
Jon Alper

About Jon Alper

Jon is an attorney focusing on bankruptcy and asset protection in Orlando, Florida.