If I Don’t Take Any Steps for Asset Protection Planning, Are All of My Assets Exposed to Creditors?

Most people who have never engaged in the process of asset protection planning before may wait until it is too late to take appropriate action. Although it is certainly worthwhile to reach out to an asset protection planning attorney in the event that you are already exposed to a claim, there are limited things that an attorney can do as far as developing strategy to prevent this problem from escalating. 


The best time to visit someone to talk about asset protection planning is well in advance of a problem emerging.


Many assets can be exposed to creditors but some are protected under federal laws. For instance, if you have an ERISA governed qualified retirement plan like a 401(k), these are essentially out of the reach of the creditors in all but a few limited circumstances.


State laws may also protect certain assets like as his or her primary residence, but bear in mind that the level of protection will vary from one state to another. The majority of states will also protect individual retirement accounts but not all states will offer the same level of protection to Roth IRAs.
Many individuals will carry life insurance policies as an additional way to pass on assets to future beneficiaries. Meeting with an asset protection planning attorney and discussing all of your options is the best way to determine whether or not you have a comprehensive asset protection planning strategy already set up.

Set up a meeting today to talk over your options by reaching out to info@lawesq.net.

Is Your Revocable Trust Actually Protecting Your Assets?

Everyone should be concerned with protecting assets even if you do not believe that you currently have an estate big enough to warrant protection. Of course, wealthy people must consider asset protection because their assets are more at risk and they may become a more frequent target of a major lawsuit. 

However, many people tend to confuse estate planning tools with asset protection planning tools and the most commonly misinterpreted tool is that of a revocable living trust. Many people who put together a revocable living trust may have an inflated sense of security that this accomplishes both their estate planning  and their asset protection planning goals with a living revocable trust, when in truth, it may be that they have significant assets still exposed to risks with creditors.

A revocable trust is often used to hold assets while the person creating the trust is still alive. Assets can be moved in and out of the trust as the individual wishes and the trust will often avoid the costly and lengthy process of probate. However, you should not count on your revocable living trust as a comprehensive safeguard from civil judgements or creditors. A revocable living trust is also not an effective vehicle to avoid paying taxes. Instead, you may want to consider other asset protection planning services that you can learn more about by speaking with an experienced asset protection planning attorney. There are many different concerns you may have in this process and this is why it is essential to work with someone who is familiar with various strategies of asset protection planning.


Checklist of Questions That Every Business Owner Needs to Ask

There are several different questions that you need to ask in order to ensure that you have protected yourself against risks and engaged in proper planning. shutterstock_189579146

Do All Owners of the Business Have an Updated Buy-Sell Agreement?

A buy-sell agreement determines what happens to ownership interests and the business if they need to be transferred due to a disability, termination of employment or owner’s death.

Have You Reviewed Your Legal Structure at Least On an Annual Basis?

Whether you’ve been in business for awhile or whether you’re new to the game,] make sure that your business structure is always set up in the most advantageous manner.

Has a Succession Plan Been Outlined?

You need to ensure that the ownership and authority have been outlined when a business owner transitions and it is passed on to someone else.

Is There an Emergency Management Transition Plan/Procedure in Place?

Make sure you have a plan in the event that a key individual suddenly becomes incapacitated, unavailable or deceased.

Does Your Business Have Regular Shareholder’s Meetings and Annual Directors Meeting?

You should always schedule these in order to update the stock book and corporate minute book.

Do You Have Updated Contract Forms that Have the Clear Business Terms and Conditions

These forms should have clear terms and conditions aligned with protecting your business.

Have You Reviewed Any Potential Liabilities, Litigation Risks and Obligations?

The business should have a plan to guard against exposure, but you should also make sure that individual owners also have their own personal asset protection plans.

Do You Have an Employee Handbook?

Your employee handbook should include key terms about disabled employee rights, family medical leave, law changes involving discrimination, social media and sexual harassment.

When Hiring Employees, Do You Have Them Sign Noncompete Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements & Confidentiality Agreements?

This can be an excellent way to protect the business you have worked so hard to build and to lay ground rules from the outset of working with a new employee.

Is a Business Executive Compensation Plan in Place?

One of the best ways to reward loyalty is to ensure that you have rewarded retaining key employees and enhancing their commitment to your company.

Are Business Owners Thinking About Growth?

Are you thinking about acquiring other companies and growing your company in this manner?

Are you Thinking About Selling the Business to Someone Else?

If you are thinking about ultimately selling the business, or if you have received increase from someone interested in purchasing the business, there are many different things you need to prepare for.

Have Any Owners of the Business Expressed a Desire to Leave or Separate?

This is one more reason why you need a business succession plan in place.

Do Business Owners Also Have Ownership in real Estate Where the Business is Located?

Make sure that you have reviewed the recent developments and changes in the law and ensure that the legal structure of real estate ownership has been analyzed recently.

Have You Developed an Asset Protection Plan to Minimize Your Exposure to Liabilities?   

Make sure your plan covers all potential liability exposure. You can discuss this further with your New Jersey asset protection protection planning attorney.


Comprehensive Asset Protection Planning Checklist

There are many different areas in which you may be vulnerable to a predatory attack during a lawsuit. For example, regular business activities, owning real estate, or operating a motor vehicle could all expose you to potential lawsuit risks.asset protection planning checklist NJ

Most people are aware that lawsuits are more common in our society today than they have been before. That being said, far too many people do not give enough attention and planning to the benefits of guarding against these risks. This process is known as asset protection planning, a form of risk management planning that can be helped by asset protection planning attorney.

The ultimate goal of asset protection planning is to prevent lawsuits from happening. The following questions should always be asked as you go through the process of asset protection planning.

  1. Have you consulted with a knowledgeable insurance consultant about an insurance adequacy analysis for your business as well as you personally?
  2. Do you understand the benefits and basic structures of traditional asset protection planning arrangements within your state as well as a limitation of each, including:
  • Holding assets in qualified employer-related retirement plans and IRAs
  • Using life insurance policies and annuities
  • Owning property and joint names with your spouse
  1. Do you understand how trust can benefit your asset protection planning goals?
  2. If you do have real estate, do you have it owned in a manner that will limit your personal exposure to risks?
  3. Is your business structured properly in order to minimize your personal exposure to lawsuit risk?
  4. Has your business been properly structured and analyzed in order to prevent exposure of assets based on present or future creditors of the owners of the business?
  5. Have you structured an operating agreement, a shareholder agreement, or partnership agreement that has asset protection planning provisions within it?
  6. Are your investment or business assets separated into different legal entities to protect one group of assets from being associated with another?
  7. Do all of the formalities associated with the operation of your business such as having a separate bank account, not intermingling business transactions with personal, executing legal documents in the right manner, keeping regular minutes, and keeping separate records?
  8. Do you know how to structure asset transfers in the most effective manner in order to minimize any exposure to fraudulent conveyance laws?
  9. Do all of your personal estate planning documents have designated provisions associated with protecting assets passing to your children or your spouse?

Are you ready to discuss your next steps? Shah & Associates is here to help you with all your New Jersey asset protection planning concerns. Reach out to our office today to learn more. Set up an appointment by contacting info@lawesq.net .

What’s an Asset Protection Trust?

The asset protection planning trust is still a relatively new tool for those interested in guarding against risk. In the late 1990’s, Delaware enacted legislation that allows for transferring in assets to a trust that is classified as a qualified deposition rather than a fraudulent transfer, and for this reason more individual than ever are interested in learning about Delaware asset protection trusts. The trust has to be irrevocable and the trustee must be involved in the administration of said trust in order for this document to be legally valid. New Jersey asset protection planning

Furthermore, the trust must be governed by Delaware law and the trust must include a spendthrift clause. Usually, a trust like this will name a settlor as a beneficiary of the trust, but it’s recommended that you also name discretionary beneficiaries, too. This allows the settlor to have more flexibility as time goes on in the event that the settlor may want to enact distributions to loved ones, for example.

Establishing a Delaware asset protection trust on its own is not enough to shield you from a potential lawsuit. An asset protection trust can be attacked by a creditor in certain situations. Usually, a successful threat to your APT depends on situations in which the settlor has moved the majority of his or her assets into the trust, circumstances where the settlor was aware of pending litigation issues, or any fraudulent transfers. The best way to protect yourself from a situation like this is to consult with an experienced asset protection planning attorney both as you set up the trust and as you discuss the life of the trust, too. It’s just as important to manage a tool like this properly so as to avoid future problems.

Do you have questions about asset protection trusts? Are you concerned about shielding your assets from creditors? If so, set up a meeting with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney. Contact our office at info@lawesq.net to set up a meeting today.




Why Everyone Needs Asset Protection Planning

Some people view asset protection planning as an illegal or immoral practice, but that’s not really the purpose of this kind of planning. In fact, when done appropriately, asset protection planning can help you accomplish your goals and shield the wealth you have worked so hard to accumulate.asset protection NJ

While it is certainly true that all kinds of professional definitely need asset protection planning, this is true for everyone. The reality is that anyone could be exposed to a lawsuit in which his or her personal assets may be tapped by a creditor or predator.

In fact, asset protection planning breaks down to three primary goals:

  • Deferring lawsuits in the first place
  • Helping give you settlement negotiation power
  • Preventing your personal assets from being seized in the event of a judgment

Asset protection planning also has an added benefit of giving a layer of privacy to your personal assets as well, which is desirable to most people who are accumulating or who have already accumulated substantial assets. Various legal and business entities can be used to help shield your personal assets.

Even if you are not currently facing a lawsuit, most people are aware that litigation presents significant obstacles. Paying for a lawsuit, even if you are ultimately successful, can be frustrating. You may have to expend time and legal fees in order to accomplish successfully deflecting a lawsuit, and any situation in which you may be able to avoid this altogether can benefit you.

What you use for asset protection planning depends on your individual goals, but you can discuss the options with an experienced New Jersey asset protection planning attorney. Remember that if you are already facing a lawsuit, it could be too late to take advantage of the strategies and tools used to protect you.

Are you ready to talk through your options? Contact our office today at info@lawesq.net.

Are You Falling Victim to This Asset Protection Planning Myth About Bankruptcy?

There are several different important steps you should take when it comes to the asset protection planning process. One of these includes getting the right help form an experienced asset protection planning attorney.

Having the right insurance is an important foundation of your asset protection planning strategy but it is not part of your comprehensive approach. If you are a professional individual, for example, you may choose to invest in errors and omissions insurance to protect you in the event that somebody sues you when losses are experienced. You may also want to consider an umbrella insurance policy.bankruptcy and asset protecting planning

Many wealthy individuals simply face a higher risk of being sued because an opportunist may believe that you have the assets appropriate to support a lawsuit. A liability insurance policy, however, can protect your assets when someone attempts to link you to an injury or damage that happened on your property. The second step of asset protection planning involves separating your business from your personal assets. As soon as you begin growing your income diversity, it is important to take this step.

Working with an asset protection planning attorney can help you ensure that your business structures are properly divided in order to shield your personal assets to the best extent possible. It is important to understand that many individuals have misconceptions about the role of bankruptcy in asset protection planning. Bankruptcy could be a helpful asset protection planning strategy, although since 2005 this has become less and less true. New bankruptcy rules make it more difficult to file for Chapter 7, for example.

Bankruptcy judges also have a high level of discretion in cases. If you attempt to file for bankruptcy protection after somebody comes after you in a lawsuit, this does not mean that you are comprehensively protected. You need to consult with your asset protection planning attorney to understand when bankruptcy makes sense and when it doesn’t. Reach out to info@lawesq.net if you’re ready for a more comprehensive approach to asset protection planning.


What Asset Protection Planning is Not

It has only been in the last decade or so that more individuals are realizing the serious benefits of asset protection planning. This is primarily due to the fact that more people in the U.S. see the litigious society and the serious risks that an individual could be exposed to with just one lawsuit. There are, thankfully, plenty of meaningful and effective asset protection planning strategies, but it’s also important to know what this process will not do for you. asset protection planning new jersey

You cannot use asset protection planning, for example, to avoid paying your taxes. In addition, this kind of planning is usually effective for protecting assets but not hiding them. Bear in mind that an asset you hide could ultimately be found, but one that has been protected is much more secure overall. Finally, an asset protection planning attorney does not engage in asset protection planning with a client under the guise of defrauding creditors.

This kind of planning is the most valuable when you engage in it long before you have an issue. Trying to get legal help in organizing things when a creditor is already attacking your personal assets is much like a day late and a dollar short. The most effective plans are those you have in place well before an issue occurs, and you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you get there. Do not hesitate to reach out to someone with experience in this field.



If I Fail To Take Action With Asset Protection Planning, Are All Of My Assets Exposed To Creditor Risks?

Although there are many assets exposed to creditors if you do not engage in the process of asset protection planning. Federal laws do protect particular assets. For example, a qualified retirement plan governed by ERISA, such as a 401(k), is protected. These are mostly out of reach to creditors except in a few select circumstances. State laws may also protect various assets as well. The majority of states do protect traditional individual retirement accounts.shutterstock_292965230

Many individuals may also use a life insurance policy to help protect them from potential creditor claims. This allows you to also have the peace of mind that there will be finds left behind for your loved ones in the event that something happens to you. Although there are select circumstances in which some of your assets may be protected from creditors if you take no action, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced asset protection planning attorney to protect as much of your estate as possible. It can be an unpleasant surprise for a lawsuit to arise and to have all of your personal assets potentially attached to this.

Having an asset protection planning attorney is vital to long-term success because you need to be able to mitigate risk at any given time. A long-term approach to asset protection requires regular review so that you can prevent problems before they happen. Even though some of your assets may be shielded already, this does not mean you are fully protected. Contact a New Jersey asset protection planning attorney to learn more.

How Liability Insurance Can Help with Your Asset Protection Planning

The first line of defense to protect of your assets from future claims is to consider insurance. This is because insurance on its own can help to mitigate a significant number of risks. You should also, of course, consult with a knowledgeable New Jersey asset protection planning attorney to learn more about your options and to discover other strategies and tools that can be useful in this process.shutterstock_325745573

Some of the most common types of insurance that can be used to help ward off potential lawsuits and attachments to your personal assets include malpractice, business, automobile, homeowners, umbrella, and long-term care policies. Liability insurance is essential for providing the funds necessary for paying damages and it can also frequently include payment of some or all of the legal fees linked with a lawsuit.

Now is the time to get an umbrella policy if you do not already have one. It is relatively inexpensive to obtain an umbrella policy when thinking about more advanced ways to protect your individual assets. That being said, you may also choose to use both methods to protect your assets significantly. Verify that all of your policy limits on any existing insurance policies are well in line with your net worth. It’s a good idea to evaluate this on a yearly basis so that you can determine whether or not you need to make adjustments.


Benefits of Working with Attorneys and Advisors Who Are In the Know

There are many different reasons that you should always consult with a knowledgeable attorney and advisors in the event that you have any kind of a legal issue, and a recent 60 Minutes report regarding investigations into the life insurance industry only highlights this point.shutterstock_17080654

According to audits of major life insurance companies, it has been discovered that there is a systematic practice of behavior avoiding paying numerous beneficiaries. Individuals who take out a life insurance policy typically pay premiums and expect that when they pass away that your loved ones will receive the death benefit. In some recent settlements, however, more than 20 of the nation’s largest life insurance companies have paid over 7 and a half billion dollars in back death benefits.

There are also 35 life insurance companies who have currently not settled and are still under investigation for failing to pay in the event that the beneficiary was unaware that there was a policy, which is not that uncommon. Some beneficiaries never come forward because they do not know that the policy exists.

Working with a knowledgeable advisor and attorney in this situation can increase the chances that your benefits will make their way to the next of kin. Your estate plan should include legal documentation as to who gets what but also go through the process of integrating assets into your plan for maximum benefit.            

Panama Papers: What U.S. Taxpayers Should Know About Tax Havens

Off-shore planning has become increasingly popular over the last several years and a recent news story known as the Panama Papers has important implications for those considering conducting their planning off-shore.shutterstock_295936574

The Panama Papers are more than 11 million leaked files from a law firm in panamas database. These files have since been shared with numerous media outlets around the world. The documents allegedly show how the law firm helped high profile clients like celebrities and government officials dodge sanctions, evade taxes and launder money.

Although the law firm claims that international standards have always been used by their firm in working with these clients, it is important to consider what you can learn from the Panama Papers scandal. There are plenty of legitimate purposes to consider engaging in off-shore planning, primarily because you will receive favorable creditor protection laws and benefit from estate planning strategies.

Frivolous creditors may be dissuaded by the fact that you have assets saved off-shore, for example. If you have interest in planning ahead for your own future and have questions about legitimate off-shore planning, consult with the attorneys at Shah & Associates today.

Who Should Consider Asset Protection Strategies?

We live in a world where litigation is unfortunately all too common. Any individual in a high-risk profession should consider the benefits of engaging in asset protection planning now. Some example include paramedics, architects, recreational fliers, pilots, physicians, and contractors. Others like professional athletes, individuals with a high net worth, entertainers, and political figures should also consider the benefits of asset protection planning as they are placed directly in the line of attack for lawsuits.shutterstock_100931326

Asset protection planning is another way to limit your exposure as well and these strategies can be beneficial when you work with an experienced asset protection planning attorney. If you have any exposure to risk, it is important that you consider looking into asset protection planning immediately.

It is always better to engage in asset protection planning well before a claim has arisen against you. If you suspect that you may be sued at some point in the future, it’s a good idea to engage in asset protection planning now. Waiting until it is too late and someone has already brought a claim against you can have significant repercussions for your future. Do not hesitate to reach out to a New Jersey asset protection planning attorney today.

Three Asset Protection Planning Tips That You Should Consider Immediately

Asset protection planning is simply using legal strategies and structures to transform property from that which could be accessible to creditors to at least making it partially protected. There are several tips that you can use to accomplish this goal.shutterstock_115937266

  1. Rely on Liability Insurance

The first line of defense against any kind of liability is insurance including business, malpractice, professional, automobile, homeowners, umbrella and long term care insurance. Liability insurance gives you a way to pay monetary damages and may assist with some or all of the legal fees associated with a lawsuit.

  1. Maximize 401(k) and IRA Contributions

Tax favorable retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs are protected from creditors and bankruptcy although there are some limitations to this. Maximizing your contributions in this way is a good way to increase your retirement savings while also protecting this money into an LLC. If you are a real estate flipper, investor or a landlord, then it’s a good idea to contact an attorney to help shield your assets from creditors, predators and lawsuits. There are two kinds of liability that can impact individuals like this with claims like slip and falls on the property and outside liability such as situations in which creditors retrieve assets to cover a debt. Consult with a knowledgeable asset protection planning attorney to learn more about what you should know in this process.

The Biggest Asset Protection Mistakes Most Commonly Made By Physicians

Most physicians are aware that they face an increased risk for litigation and exposure to personal claim attachments. That being said, many individuals make mistakes when it comes to transitioning out of their training and residency into the accumulation of wealth phase of their life.

Medical malpractice claims are certainly disconcerting for physicians but individuals might also be facing bogus employee lawsuits, commercial real estate creditor claims, or claims against physicians or investors for their role in non-practice related businesses. Doing nothing now can be the biggest mistake that you can make with regard to your asset protection planning. This is because if you wait until an incident happens, it is already too late to fix a great deal of the damage.shutterstock_110633099

This is because if you wait until an incident happens, it is already too late to fix a great deal of the damage. Instead you should be proactive with protecting your assets as your wealth accumulates over the course of being a physician. Consulting with a knowledgeable asset protection planning attorney in New Jersey is essential from the outset of establishing your own practice or completing your residency. Doing so will give you the most up to date information about how to protect yourself as your wealth accumulates. There are many different risks that you may face as a physician but properly planning can guard your personal assets from being attacked.

Does My LLC Make Me Bulletproof?

Most people are aware that an LLC is the important first layer in an asset protection planning strategy, but it might not be everything you need. it’s a good idea to consult with an asset protection planning attorney on a regular basis so that you can ensure you are fully protected.

The benefits of asset protection planning are numerous, but they all primarily center around the concept of keeping your personal assets out of the reach of a potential litigation. According to data from the Pacific Research Institute, the U.S. is the most litigious country in the world. There are more than 15 million civil lawsuits in the U.S. filed every single year, leading to $250 billion plus in costs. shutterstock_306779927

Although the LLC should likely just be the cornerstone of your protection, it is an important first step. Most asset protection planning specialists will agree that the process is threefold: implementing tax reduction strategies, comprehensive estate planning, and lawsuit protection.

The reality is that you need an attorney and firm with experience in all three. It’s the best way to ensure that your tactics are aligned with the needs of your business. Any business owner knows that needs and threats, much like any other aspect of business, ebb and flow over time. Working with an attorney who is sensitive to this will increase the chances that you have the best possible chance of protecting yourself.

Be aware that even with an LLC, courts may allow the piercing of the corporate veil. You need to work with a firm that understands this risk and helps explain your best responses. Contact a New Jersey asset protection planning attorney today to learn more.



There is No Magic Pill for Asset Protection Planning

There is no question that cyber threats exist and that for many it is not a question of if but when. One issue is that a key focus seems to be on compliance or finding the tangible product or magic bullet that will check off the boxes of what is required for protecting your assets.shutterstock_179022608

Although many individuals do purchase programs to avoid cyber threats, according to an electric industry paper, 2014 Strategic Decisions, only 32% of these individuals have used systems with proper monitoring segmentation and redundancies.

The key is not to avoid responsibility and to realize that buying a package monetary by-staff at a remote location is no substitute for integrating a program with your on-site personnel in a systematic complex thoughtful plan that protects the unique assets being held.

Tips for Protecting Your Assets as You Age: Three Keys

The effects of aging, if not properly prepared for, can rob a person of their assets and rob heirs of their inheritance.shutterstock_108963875

According to recent research conducted by the University Of Kentucky College of Human Environmental Services found that 40% of people do not even think about retirement.

The first key to protecting your assets is getting a power of attorney to grant as much or as little decision making power to a trusted person.

The second key is gifting. A great example is giving your home while arranging to live in it for life, as it is no longer your asset and cannot actually be taken for expenses in some scenarios.

The third key is to use long-term care insurance to allow you to decide what care and when should take place. Having an attorney who can walk you through these steps is extremely helpful after you have done some thinking about it on your own. If you have questions about the process of protecting your assets and the steps that you can take now, contact a New Jersey asset protection planning attorney sooner rather than later.

What You Can Learn About Asset Protection Planning from the Ocean?


Much like offshore assets, the Caribbean reef squid is a master of disguise. Its skin composition allow it to blend into surroundings and in a sense to disappear. Assets should behave not as the tall reed in the ocean that attracts attention but instead rather be left to mature and grow sturdy.shutterstock_212413390

This should be your general approach with asset protection planning under the guidance of an experienced attorney. Misdirection and a sturdy structure can be found in LLC’s family foundations and trusts.

All of these can add a layer of protection making it more difficult for an outsider to understand who is who and who owns what, and thus leading some creditors to move on from trying to figure out the answers. Finally, placing assets not in cash but instead in collectibles or medals can make for allusive targets. Contact an asset protection planning attorney today if you would like to learn more.

The Benefits of Asset Protection Planning in Nevada

When a liability issue arises, action is often too late even if it’s well-meaning. Early formation of an LLC or an asset protection trust in Nevada can be protective and can serve as a hindrance to creditors. Only an experienced asset protection planning attorney should help you put together an LLC or other structure out of state. shutterstock_61178815

But it can usually be done with very little reporting on a tax-free basis and very quickly. One of the main benefits of working with an asset protection trust in Nevada is that it provides charging order protection. This means that liens attached carry economic interest only, not allowing a creditor to see shares or take control.

When devised properly, the asset protection trust prevents creditors from seizing assets held within the trust, and another major benefit of going this route is that it can be set up quite easily by an individual. When this protection planning is used, it can create a double layer of protection. A creditor may not receive a distribution or make decisions but assets are also protected by the trust forcing a lower settlement of any lawsuit. In fact using this kind of trust in general can help to prevent lawsuits because creditors may realize that they are not able to tap into the assets they thought they might be able to. As always, only consult with an experienced assets protection planning specialist before putting together any kind of trust.