Asset Protection

While some people believe that only the very wealthy should undertake an asset protection strategy, the fact is that people from nearly all walks of life can benefit. Most of us would agree that if a person owes a valid debt and has the means to pay it, he should do so. But that doesn't mean you should leave your hard-earned assets exposed to frivolous lawsuits, predators, divorce, spendthrift children, opportunistic stepchildren, and other dangers.

At Emert Law Firm, LLC, we help people throughout Georgia create effective asset protection plans through the strategic use of entities, trusts, and other tools. There are advantages and disadvantages to certain types of plans, depending on your situation and needs. By working in advance with a qualified estate planning attorney, you can receive the benefit of a lawyer's guidance and counsel to minimize the risks and maximize protection.

Gwinnett County asset protection lawyer Steve Emert and our team will work closely with you to learn more about your unique situation and your immediate and long-term goals. We will then go to work designing a sensible yet effective plan that meets these needs and protects you and your loved ones in the years ahead.

Forging strong attorney-client relationships is one of the foundations of our practice. We offer a free consultation of up to two hours to discuss your goals and how to achieve them.

What Are The Benefits Of An Asset Protection Strategy?

Depending on your assets and your needs, an asset protection strategy can accomplish the following:

  • Help protect your assets from frivolous lawsuits, judgments and creditors
  • Limit the impact of the estate tax, gift tax and other taxes
  • Distribute assets to children over time rather than all at once, particularly when a child has shown he or she is not able to properly care for large sums of money
  • Distribute assets to blended families in such a way that will protect the rights of children from a prior marriage
  • Determine the best way to maintain a closely held or family-owned business in the event of untimely death or incapacitation

An asset protection strategy may be an important part of your overall estate plan. Frequently, trusts can achieve many of these goals, such as reducing the possibility that a spendthrift child will spend down your life's earnings in a short period of time. For business owners, establishing the correct entity, whether an LLC, a limited partnership or a corporation, is vital in protecting assets from creditors. We frequently partner with financial planners, insurance professionals, and co-counsel specialists in order to maximize the protection of our clients. As with all types of planning, being proactive is important to a plan's success. The earlier you talk to us, the more options you will have.

Asset Protection

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 instruct, 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.

Contact Emert Law Firm, LLC

Call our law firm at (678) 926-9284 or email us to schedule a consultation at any of our (Hamilton Mill) and Johns Creek locations.