Asset Protection Lawyers White Plains, NY
Comprehensive advice on proven, effective strategies
We’ve all heard the old adage “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.” At Giannasca & Shook, PLLC, our attorneys want to help you keep more of what you earn. That is asset protection in a nutshell: the use of legal strategies to reduce or eliminate losses to your wealth due to liability and taxation. When we design an estate plan, we build in asset protection by using trusts to hold your assets in a way that creditors and the IRS can’t get at them. But there are additional precautions you can and should take.
Using entity formation and insurance to guard against liability
One way to lose a lot of money in a hurry is through a court judgment on a personal injury lawsuit. Suppose you have a small business and for convenience you’re treating it as a sole proprietorship. Then one day, the driver of your delivery van runs a red light, causing a catastrophic accident. The jury returns a huge verdict for the plaintiff, which exceeds the limits of your insurance. You have to sell your business and your home, and it’s still not enough.
If only you’d had an asset protection plan, these small measures could have protected you:
- Vehicle insurance — Too many drivers purchase the statutory minimum amount of coverage, which is not enough to protect against a serious accident. Raising the level of your coverage gives greater protection to your personal assets.
- Incorporation — By incorporating your small business, you avoid personal liability for an accident involving a business asset. You place a firewall between your business and your home, savings, retirement fund, and so on. You can also separately incorporate different aspects of your business, putting firewalls between your business assets. Incorporation can also protect you from personal liability for your company’s business debts.
Our asset protection attorneys review the ownership structure of your assets and your existing insurance policies to identify exposure so you can take the proper steps to safeguard your wealth. In some cases, it is appropriate to move assets offshore so they are even more difficult for a claimant to attach.
Asset protection in your estate plan
Placing assets in trusts can make it more difficult for creditors, claimants or even Medicaid to go after them. But trusts can also protect your wealth from taxation. When you place assets in a trust, the Surrogate Court does not count them against the value of your estate. If your estate is large enough to trigger New York or federal estate tax, placing assets in a trust can avoid that tax, which can be substantial. Your trusts can also transfer that wealth to your heirs without having to go through probate. Finally, you should speak to an elder law attorney at our firm about protections for seniors, such as powers of attorney, that can protect older adults from unscrupulous scam artists who target the elderly.
Let our White Plains attorneys put a comprehensive asset protection plan in place for you
Giannasca & Shook, PLLC helps clients protect their wealth at every stage of life. An experienced asset protection attorney can explain how different mechanisms work and which might be appropriate for your circumstances. To schedule a free consultation, call 914-872-6000 or contact our office online.