I am a 40 year old self-employed financial professional and I have accumulated assets well over $3M and counting. As a result I had a pre-nup signed by my current wife prior to our marriage a few years ago. We have since been blessed with a 10 month old son who is our world. I would like to leave my estate to my son and my wife free from any potential future creditor claims that may occur prior to my passing which hopefully will be several decades away. I am looking for an attorney who will be able to assist me to protect my assets from creditor now and into the future. How would this be possible?
4 Answers from Attorneys
You can create a trust, or an irrevocable trust, which may help this purpose. The issues about creditors will have to be discussed.
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Congratulations on your success. Many of the most highly-touted "asset protection" strategies involve some amount of deceit, and reputable attorneys won't help you with them. If you are sued by someone, and the person suing you obtains a judgment against you, you will have to testify under oath about the location of your assets. Falsely testifying would be perjury, a felony. What you -can- do is create an irrevocable trust for your child (and any of your children born in the future) such that the assets you place in the trust are totally and completely beyond your control. This would involve your selecting a very, very trustworthy person to serve as trustee. Only this type of irrevocable trust arrangement is creditor-proof, and then only if the assets you transfer to the trust are not immediately subject to creditor claims. If someone advises you to arrange your affairs such that you might have to commit perjury in the future as part of your "asset protection" strategy -- and I am sure there are many such advisers including attorneys -- run. Show me someone that advises you to cheat, and I'll show you someone who will cheat you.
It is great that you are thinking about this now, rather than when it is too late. Please give me a call so that we can discuss your various options to protect your assets and your family.
Total protection, as co-counsel has stated, is virtually impossible, but there are certainly measures that can be taken to do afford you some confort and protection.
A trust is the most obvious one, but, unfortunately, creating a revocable trust allows creditors to attach it in a lawsuit. Alternatively, an irrevocable trust where you name another person as the trustee would provide better protection for what you are seeking.
The obvious downside is that you have to trust this ther person enough to provide for your living and maintenence while you ar alive. You are esentially making this person a quasi-guardian over your assets. Because they are not under yur direct control, it is much more difficult for a creditor to attach them.
If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me through PasadenaEstatePlanning.com