Asset protection is a big phrase which simply means structuring your assets – your house, your investments, your cash, your businesses, in a way which makes it more difficult for a creditor to touch those assets. Asset protection is a perfectly legal process based on several legal sources. This includes the Florida Constitution, Florida’s excellent homestead protection laws, and Federal common law traditions.
Asset protection is not just for the super-wealthy because anyone can get sued. Lawsuits arise from car accidents, credit card debt, a leaky faucet flooding your neighbor’s apartment, someone getting hurt in your home, etc. We can spot the liabilities that lurk ahead for you, your family, and your business. Sometimes the simplest tactics work. Other times, we will need a few layers of asset protection to protect your wealth. Below are the most common asset protection strategies our firm employs. We keep it simple and help keep your money in your pocket.
Florida Homestead Property – the most important Florida law that protects your real property is the homestead exemption. If registered properly with the county, Florida exempts your home from the reach of creditors. Florida also protects property owned jointly by a husband and wife from the creditors of either spouse.
Florida Business Entities – the use of business entities, such as limited partnerships and limited liability companies are useful tools for protecting your business or other investments.
Irrevocable Trusts are great long-term asset protection tools that transfer money out of your name by assigning someone you trust to manage the money. The person creating the Trust (“Grantor”) places certain assets into the Trust and designates who will manage them (“Trustee”). The Trustee can be almost anyone other than your spouse. The assets are then managed according to the Grantor’s terms. The assets placed into an Irrevocable Trust are generally protected so long as the Grantor is not a direct beneficiary of the Trust.
Insurance is a crucial and affordable tactic that every professional should take advantage of. If you or a patron to your business gets injured, insurance can cover the medical expenses. If you get sued, insurance can cover your legal defense costs, whether you win or lose. We can spot future dangers that are a liability to your business. Whether it is automobile, life, long-term care, disability, malpractice, landlord/tenant, or business liability insurance, we will put you in touch with an insurance professional who can help.
Other Asset Protection Strategies
- Florida’s Homestead Protection Laws
- Tenants by the Entirety (“TBE”) – property jointly owned by married couples
- Properly formed Floridian business entities
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Qualified Retirement Plans and IRAs
- 529 Plans & College Savings Plans
We understand family run businesses.
That is why we custom tailor asset protection plans to meet your family’s individual needs. This not only protects the family inheritance from current or future creditors, but also minimizes disagreements between beneficiaries.