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Family Law
Family Law

Newport Beach Asset Protection Lawyers

Trusted Asset Protection Lawyers in Newport Beach, California

Owning personal property or managing a business comes with the sobering reality that a single legal claim can jeopardize everything you’ve diligently built over the years. While facing a lawsuit might seem unlikely to most, the truth is that anyone engaged in business, owning real estate, or possessing substantial personal or business assets is at risk. However, with proper awareness and the implementation of effective asset protection strategies, it’s possible to safeguard your assets against potential legal disputes.

At Sullivan Law & Associates, we specialize in helping individuals and businesses in Orange County secure their assets. Our team of experienced asset protection attorneys in Newport Beach crafts bespoke strategies designed to meet the unique personal and business needs of our clients. To learn how you can protect your assets, reach out to our family law firm at (949) 590-8100 for asset protection planning tailored to your needs.

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What is Asset Protection?

In essence, asset protection strategically separates various properties and investments to safeguard them from potential legal claims. This can be accomplished through several methods, including boosting liability insurance on properties and vehicles, establishing robust retirement plans, or forming limited partnerships and LLCs.

It’s critical to acknowledge that in California, the legal system tends to favor plaintiffs over asset holders, necessitating extra caution. For instance, the state’s homestead exemption in bankruptcy and liability cases caps at roughly $175,000—a figure that pales in comparison to exemptions in other states. Moreover, creditors have the leeway to target assets in the enforcement of judgements against certain limited partnerships.

However, there are effective strategies to mitigate these risks. Engaging an asset protection lawyer allows for the strategic structuring of limited partnerships to minimize vulnerability. Furthermore, creating separate entities for each property can obstruct claimants from accessing unrelated assets. Lastly, investing in specialized retirement accounts and establishing irrevocable trusts for beneficiaries offer additional layers of protection.

When to Start Asset Protection

The optimal moment to start safeguarding your assets is when the prospect of loss becomes unacceptable. This principle applies across all wealth levels, boiling down to a careful assessment of risk versus reward. Asset protection becomes imperative when the cost of potential liabilities exceeds what you can comfortably cover with your current income, yet can be managed through strategic legal measures.

Initiating this process as soon as possible is crucial for success. Business entities often have waiting periods, and any delay in establishing proper protections can result in courts perceiving your strategy unfavorably.

Creating Asset Protection Strategies for Decades

Our team of business and estate planning attorneys understands that the optimal asset protection strategy differs based on asset types, associated risks, and your specific protection goals. We meticulously assess your circumstances to provide tailored recommendations that align with your objectives. Your asset protection plan may include:

  • Insurance: We evaluate the essential types of business and personal insurance needed to guard against liability, yet we caution against relying solely on insurance for asset protection, as it may leave you vulnerable.
  • Trusts: We adeptly craft specialized irrevocable trusts to safeguard your wealth for you and your heirs, ensuring its protection for future generations. Our trusts range from marital and Nevada asset protection trusts to life insurance, multigenerational/dynasty, special needs trusts, and other targeted trusts.
  • Business Entities: We strategically title assets to reduce liability risks and fulfill business succession planning requirements. This may involve establishing family limited partnerships, Nevada corporations, or similar asset protection vehicles, with a key focus on transitioning asset ownership to the business entity.

At Sullivan Law & Associates, we understand that professionals, including lawyers, architects, and physicians, face the risk of claims that can affect both their business and career. These individuals may also encounter allegations of fraud or misconduct from former business partners or dissatisfied employees.

Similarly, property owners are at risk of liability for personal injuries that occur on their premises, as well as judgments or liens against their property, among other potential claims.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Protect My Assets In California?

California has long been considered an ideal state for crafting an estate plan, thanks to its favorable laws and tax regime. A cornerstone of estate planning is asset protection, which involves utilizing legal strategies to safeguard assets from potential threats like divorce, lawsuits, creditors, or the costs of long-term care. These events often strike without warning and can have a profound financial impact. However, when it comes to asset protection laws, California falls short in comparison to states like Nevada.

Among various asset protection strategies, trusts stand out as the most prevalent option. Trusts provide a secure way for an individual to hold assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. They offer the flexibility to manage and distribute wealth according to the individual’s wishes in a controlled manner. Nevada, in particular, offers significant advantages for establishing an asset protection trust. These include:

  • No state taxes on income of trusts, estate, or inheritance
  • Nevada laws include zero exemption creditors, which is particularly valuable in the event of divorce
  • Decanting provisions that allow a trustee to distribute assets from one trust to another
  • Trust protector legislation allows for further safeguards on how assets are used and distributed
  • Virtual representation allows competent adults to speak on behalf of beneficiaries who cannot, under the law, speak for themselves (e.g. young children)
  • The ability to establish a Nevada Asset Protection Trust

Establishing an asset protection trust in Nevada offers numerous advantages, and a skilled asset protection attorney from Sullivan Law & Associates in Newport Beach can craft a customized trust strategy to meet your specific needs.

What Is The Nevada Asset Protection Trust?

When delving into asset protection strategies in Nevada, it’s essential to highlight the Nevada Asset Protection Trust (NAPT). Under Chapter 166 of the NRS, the law establishes provisions for what is known as a “spendthrift trust.” This trust arrangement permits trustees to earmark assets for a beneficiary while preventing the beneficiary from accessing or transferring those assets directly.

Nevada stands out among other states for permitting individuals to set up an asset protection trust for their benefit. In this jurisdiction, a person can create a trust, naming themselves as the beneficiary, known as a self-settled spendthrift trust. There are several important considerations and requirements for establishing and maintaining self-settled spendthrift trusts:

  • The trust must be irrevocable
  • The trustee or at least one co-trustee must be a resident of Nevada or a financial institution with an office in Nevada
  • Assets are protected from creditors after the two-year statute of limitations passes from the time of the transfer and notice provided. For pre-existing creditors, the statute of limitations is reduced to six months after the creditor discovers or should have reasonably discovered the transfer

The Nevada Asset Protection Trust stands out as a highly effective and potent tool individuals can use to safeguard their assets. It is accessible to both domestic and international individuals, provided they appoint an independent trustee from Nevada. This trustee can be a financial institution, an individual, or a trust company.

Contact Our Newport Beach Asset Protection Lawyers

At Sullivan Law & Associates, we are dedicated to helping you protect your assets. To discuss your asset protection needs, please schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Newport Beach asset protection lawyers. We are committed to helping you achieve peace of mind and financial security for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t wait until it’s too late – contact us today to begin creating a comprehensive asset protection plan.