California is one of the most litigious states in America. If you own intellectual property rights, operate a business or work in specific fields, the chances of losing your assets to lawsuits are high. Palm Desert’s cost of living is lower than in many parts of California, but it is still higher than in a lot of areas in the rest of the country. This can cause many people to rely on loans and credit to fund businesses and purchase assets. Should you default on your debts or pass away, your creditors could come calling to seize assets in payment.
Our Palm Desert asset protection attorneys at Bochnewich Law Offices can protect your current assets and future estate from these and other threats. The more assets you have on hand and the higher the threat levels, the greater importance you should place on an asset protection strategy. We have many proven tools available to do so safely and legally.
Reasons People Seek Asset Protection Services
Everyone in Palm Desert could benefit from asset protection services. All it takes is one car accident or a few months of unemployment to put your assets at risk. However, some people have more at stake than others and face much higher levels of exposure to potential litigation and debt. Here are some of the specific factors that could put your assets at greater risks than others.
If you face high risks of litigation, whether it be real estate or civil litigation, or believe someone might press a suit in the near future, asset protection can help you ensure your personal assets do not form part of the settlement. This can make all the difference when a judge orders you to pay a high sum. In some cases, even divorce may fall into this category. Many clients use asset protection to circumvent community property laws.
If you are battling with high levels of debt to the government or private entities, you could lose your assets to pay the bill. In the case of a business loan, you may lose both personal and business assets if you are not careful about financial separation or if you choose certain types of business formations. Asset protection tools can offer some protections even in instances where you decide to file for bankruptcy.
Ironically, wealth presents as great a need for asset protection as debt. There are instances where merely being or becoming rich makes someone a target to predators. Whether you are about to receive an inheritance, recently won the lottery or have already built up your income, our lawyer can help ensure you do not lose it to creditors, litigation, high taxes and other threats.
If you work in a field where professionals face frequent lawsuits, asset protection makes good financial sense. The last thing you want is to see all you worked so hard for go up in smoke at the same time that your livelihood becomes at risk. A number of professionals fit into this category:
- Health care professionals, especially medical doctors
- Certified public accountants
- Real estate developers
- Real estate investors
- Financial advisors
Common Asset Protection Tools in California
There are many legal asset protection tools that Palm Desert residents can take advantage of. Your lawyer will need to review your assets, concerns and preferences before determining what options could work best for you.
One of the most commonly used asset protection tools in California is the retirement exemption. Both qualified and nonqualified retirement plans offer protections, but in different capacities. For instance, there are differences based on how well each type protects against child support claims, spousal support, private debts and litigation.
Owning a business can be a rewarding experience, but it can put business owners at much greater risk than the rest of the Palm Desert population. Business owners may default on debts or face lawsuits. If you own a sole proprietorship or partnership, a business issue could quickly cost you your personal assets. Corporations and limited liability companies offer better protection.
There are many different trusts to choose from when trying to protect your assets, including living trusts and indeed asset protection trusts. Asset protection trusts remain one of the most popular. If you also need to protect your future estate from your beneficiary’s creditors, a spendthrift trust can accomplish this. Virtually all types of trusts offer some protection. Our attorney can help you determine which ones best suit your needs.
Life Insurance Exemption
California generally treats life insurance policies and payments as exempt from creditors, taxes and litigation. This can hold true even if someone chooses to take the cash surrender value for an existing life insurance policy. The limits on the cash surrender value usually hover around $9,700. To confirm eligibility for this exemption, your attorney will also need to confirm what state owns the policy.
California Homestead Exemptions
A creditor may gain the right to force the sale of a home, even when the home is paid off. For instance, the IRS may attempt this to get payments for federal taxes. Fortunately, the California Homestead exemption can make this difficult. Even if the debtor sells, the exemption protects the proceeds of the sale up to a particular amount. Our attorney can determine your exemption value based on your marital or filing status and age.
Why Choose Bochnewich Law Offices
Law firms are not the only professionals offering asset protection services. Unfortunately, however, there are many scam artists preying on innocent and hardworking Americans. They sell their victims on ideas of asset protection that are too good to be true, but which may not ring alarm bells when someone needs those services desperately and for a cheap price. These tools might protect your assets but can also risk your freedom and integrity.
Asset protection represents a meeting ground between finance and law. Navigating these highly complex fields requires an experienced lawyer who also recognizes when to call on other professionals for assistance. At Bochnewich Law Offices, we often liaise with tax preparers and accountants to ensure every step we take protects your best interests today and tomorrow.
To find out how we can serve you, give us a call at 866-303-3880. Our legal team looks forward to assisting you with your asset protection case.