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Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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My wife is a writer with 4 books published, with no national

Customer Question

My wife is a writer with 4 books published, with no national success as of yet. She is writing her autobiography about her first 17 years as an orphan "in care" in the UK where we are from. (We now live in Florida on a renewable business visa and run Polly's Pantry Tearoom in Wildwood, next to the Villages). In the book she has done all she can to hide the identity of everyone and the location of the home. In the unlikely even of her being sued by the man who ran the home, (1) what is the extent of her losses if she loses? (2) Can we lose the house we live in here in Florida? (3) Can we lose the business premises? (4) If we purchase an investment property can we lose that? (5) If we have money in the bank, can we lose that? And (6) most importantly are husbands liable to lose what is in joint names? And can he lose money/property if it is in his name? only?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.

You have raised a number of questions so let me try to address them in order. :) 1) Even if she was sued, which is unlikely with her in Florida and the UK being the site of the issues and even if the identity is determined, she cannot be held liable as long as what she says is the truth. In order to sustain any claim for defamation, one would have to prove she conveyed a defamatory message she knew or should have known to be false. 2) In the unlikely event she would lose a suit, her non-exempt assets would be at risk. Assets that are exempt include all retirement plans, retirement income, and your home. Florida has an unlimited home exemption, so matter how much your home is worth, it is safe. ##3, 4, 5) These could all be at risk if you were to lose a suit. To protect yourself if you are really concerned, you might want to consider putting non-exempt assets into a family limited partnership. Carefully drafted, this converts assets that a creditor would find attractive to go after into a limited partnership interest with no control, no rights other than that of an assignment, no transferability, no marketability, and no right to distributions. The transfer is for fair market value…i.e., you are simply exchanging one asset for another of equal value to you. And, you maintain control through a general partnership interest that you control. Yet, when complete it essentially is an asset no one wants and thus the creditor is less likely to pursue the debtor. 6) If assets are held jointly, they would be at risk. If assets are only in the husband's name, then they would be safe.

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