California has a number of statutes that have increased the number of court cases seemingly year over year. A Los Angeles asset protection attorney can help create legal instruments that can limit the loss of real estate and other valuable items in the case of litigation. However, due to the confusing number of relevant laws and cases in bankruptcy and civil court, it can be difficult to figure out how to best manage one’s affairs.
What is Asset Protection
Put simply, asset protection is the process where you legally divide different properties and investments from each other so that they are not prone to forfeiture due to litigation of various kinds. You can achieve this in a variety of ways, from increasing your liability insurance on properties and vehicles to setting up a strong retirement plan or limited partnerships and LLC’s.
It is important to note that California benefits the litigious more than those who have built up these classes of assets, so some care is necessary. For example, the homestead exemption in bankruptcy and liability proceedings only goes up to about $175,000, low compared to other states. In addition, creditors are able to go after assets when foreclosing on some limited partnerships.
On the other hand, several promising avenues exist. Working with an asset protection attorney, one may be able to structure those same limited partnerships to reduce exposure to risks. In addition, creating separate partnerships for each property can also make it difficult for plaintiffs to access assets outside of those related to the case at hand. Finally, specialized retirement platforms and designed irrevocable trusts for loved ones could add additional security.
When to Start Asset Protection
The best time to start considering protecting your assets is when you have enough that you cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, that is true at almost every level of wealth, so it comes down to a calculus of risk versus reward. You need to begin asset protection when you cannot afford the cost of dealing with the liability on your assets out of your current income but can do so by leveraging certain legal protections.
Beginning as early as possible, however, is the one requirement that will lead to success. There are waiting periods in certain business formations and delays can lead to courts looking unfavorably on any protection strategy you might consider.
Choosing the Right Legal Team for Your Liability Limitation Goals
The best way to understand what legal protections are available and how they might fit in with your current asset allocation and estate planning program is to contact someone with experience in the field. Understanding succession planning, commercial real estate and asset protection are all critical components but not necessarily practiced to the same extent by all people who claim that they are asset protection attorneys.
Consider working with firms whose practitioners have experience working with high net-worth individuals with a variety of goals and asset classes. Also consider people who have experience working through California business and real estate law specifically, and recently.
Contact Stone & Sallus
The lead asset protection attorneys at Stone & Sallus combine commercial real estate experience themselves with a practice dedicated to public service and estate planning and administration. This combination of experience in managing assets themselves as well as becoming continuing legal education editors, in one case, provides the team the ability to provide the latest advice on asset protection from attorneys who have actual experience in a variety of scenarios, from formation to mediation to litigation. Contact our experienced staff at Stone & Sallus for a confidential consultation today.