In a recent interview, asset protection attorney Paul Deloughery, senior attorney at Paul Deloughery Asset Protection, PLC in Scottsdale, AZ, revealed five essential things to avoid if you need to plan and protect your financial estate. —
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When asked to comment, Deloughery said, “There are a few guidelines that help ensure the protection of your financial assets that everyone needs to be aware of.”
"Keeping your financial estate safely within your control but not in your name is one of the best ways to protect your assets. What you don’t own can’t be taken from you," Deloughery says.
Deloughery is referring to using sophisticated legal structures to own your wealth. He isn’t referring to transferring your life savings to your wife or your uncle!
“Sometimes, people might be tempted to title their assets to a spouse or third party if they are in legal trouble. However, this can easily backfire, and be viewed as a fraudulent transfer,” Deloughery said.
“Even if in the unlikely event this type of transfer was not viewed as fraudulent, something unexpected could happen to the person you made the transfer to. If they get sued for any reason e.g. they end up in some form of accident that is deemed as their fault, then your assets could be up for grabs. Things could also become even more complicated if you decide to divorce after you've put your financial estate in your spouse's name,” he said.
A second principle is to never trust people when it comes to money.
Deloughery says, "There are ways of having checks and balances to prevent theft and mismanagement. For example, you can require period accountings. And even though a financial account may not be in your personal name, there can be another person with power to remove the person controlling the account."
When asked about the best time to create an assset protection plan, Deloughery said, “Both whisky and asset protection get better with age.”
What he means is that legal structures that are set up far in advance of a lawsuit are much stronger than actions taken right before (or during) a lawsuit.
"The premise here is the primary purpose for planning should not be to avoid paying creditors. This may sound counter-intuitive in the context of talking about asset protection. But the best asset protection plan also takes into consideration estate planning (documenting who gets what when a person passes away), tax planning, and business planning." he said.
If this isn't the case Deloughery's view is there is a danger that a court could order that any assets that were transferred out of someone's name need to get returned in order to pay their creditors due to the court feeling that the asset protection plan was purely created to avoid payng creditors.
“Transfers that are deemed by a court as fraudulent are more common than people think and come with heavy fines. It simply means transferring assets from your name at a less than reasonable equivalent value in an attempt to defraud the creditor,” Deloughery commented.
Finally, Deloughery made the point, “There’s a rule when it comes to asset protection that ‘Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered."
"In other words, if your life savings consists of $2 million, don’t put it all in an offshore bank account. That doesn’t leave you any money to live on and it looks inherently unreasonable. It also puts you in the position of possibly getting sued and then having to access the funds for your support. A U.S. court could reason that if you can access the funds for your support, you can access them to pay your creditors.”
"At the end of the day, asset protection planning is part art and part science and there is no cookie cutter solution," he said.
Name: Paul Deloughery
Email: Send Email
Organization: Paul Deloughery Asset Protection, PLC
Address: 10617 N. Hayden Rd., Ste. B-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85260,
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Release ID: 367656