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Asset Protection Laws

Asset protection is the attempt to protect ones assets from civil judgment in a legal manner. The main goal of asset protection is to keep the asset out of reach from creditors looking to satisfy a debt without fraudulent concealment or evading taxes. Below are a few of the more commonly asked questions regarding asset protection that has been answered by Experts.

We live in FL. A New Mexico LLC was established as a holding company, with 5 members. All 5 of us are signers on all accounts. We have no personal accounts outside of the LLC. Can a creditor in FL. seize an account if they win a judgment against one member?

If a creditor sues an LLC member, the LLC assets cannot be touched. There is only one way a creditor can seize the LLC assets and that is to sue the LLC. The bank accounts are part of the LLC; therefore the creditor cannot touch the account.

The fact that none of the members have accounts outside of the LLC may cause issues. If you are attempting to hide assets by using the LLC, a creditor may be able to pierce the corporate veil to seize the assets. This can occur if a business entity (your LLC) combines personal expenses with business expenses by using the same accounts. So, if the members of the LLC are using the company accounts to pay personal expenses, it would be possible for a creditor to attach the LLC accounts to satisfy a debt.

Will transferring assets into a Nevada trust provide any more protection than using a Utah registered trust if the person is a Utah resident?

Transferring assets into a Nevada trust will provide more protection in certain cases. With the exception of taxes or child support payments, a Nevada trust that has real property located in Nevada cannot be sold to satisfy a creditor through a Writ of Execution. However, if a person who lives in Utah has a Nevada trust and puts property in the trust that is located in Utah, would be under the jurisdiction of Utah courts. This means the Nevada trust would offer no asset protection in comparison to a Utah trust.

If a bank forecloses on a home, can they come after assets such as cars? I live in Florida.

In Florida, when a foreclosure takes place, the creditor can have a judgment entered for the remaining amount of the loan. This type of judgment is called a deficiency judgment and it can be used to seize the borrowers other property to satisfy the debt. The judgment can seize vehicles with equity over $1,000. If there is a co signer on the vehicle, the vehicle can still be seized for the debt of the other co-owner. If you try to transfer any of your assets within two years of the judgment would be viewed as trying to commit fraud against the creditors.

If my California partnership is sued, can the creditor freeze my assets such as my personal bank accounts that are located in Washington where I live?

California law states that if a partnership is sued any member of the partnership is liable for the debt unless the partnership is an LLC. If your partnership isn't an LLC, you will probably be held liable which means the creditor can attach your assets to satisfy a debt. In order to do this, the creditor would have to go to a court in Washington to get an attachment. If the creditor thinks there are enough assets to go after, they will probably come after you. Many partners have paid dearly for the actions of their business partners. This is why it is important that members of a partnership organize an LLC. At any point of a partnership, the financial liability can be affected.

I received a letter from Wal Mart Asset Protection Recovery regarding a shoplifting incident I was involved in. They are demanding 300.00 in damages. The criminal charges were dismissed, Wal Mart has the merchandise. Do I have to pay this $300 or is this a scam?

This letter isn't a scam, but a request for payment for an act. When a person commits theft, the business that was affected by the theft can still go after the person civilly. To cover the expenses of the stolen items, surveillance systems, security, and theft insurance, a store can fine the person well above the actual cost of the item.

There is no way to determine whether the store will take you to court over $300. Many people wouldn't pay the fine since the store has the stolen item and the criminal charges were dismissed.

Protecting your assets is important and shouldn't be ignored. Many people are unaware how vulnerable their assets are until it is too late. If you have questions or doubts about asset protection, you should ask an Expert for legal insight.
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