Estate Planning Tools to Protect Your Estate From Creditors

You may not think much about estate planning, especially if you are still young. However, estate planning is important for everyone. With the right estate plan in place, you can protect your assets and your family in the event of your death.

If you own a business or have debt from many years ago, you could be sued at any time. The right estate planning tools can help you shield your estate from creditors and lawsuits. There are several ways to protect yourself.

Buy Adequate Insurance

You may find it a hassle (and a huge expense) to buy insurance, but having sufficient insurance is one of the very first things you should do to protect yourself, especially if you are a business owner. If you own a business, you may want to consider multiple lines of insurance, such as commercial general liability coverage, professional liability insurance, and employment practices insurance. You will want to be sure that your homes, vehicles, and other assets are properly insured, as well.

Consider a Business Entity

As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you keep all your assets under one company, one lawsuit could result in a catastrophic loss. Instead, use multiple entities for valuable assets such as real estate and equipment. A good option is to consider multiple limited liability companies (LLCs). Trusts may also be useful. Contact an estate planning attorney to figure out the best options for your situation.

Sign Over Marital Property

If you own marital property, creditors may force you to liquidate these assets so they can collect on a debt. Because of this, it may make sense to sign your marital assets over to your spouse. However, this approach can be risky if you end up divorcing. Plus, you have to make sure the assets become the spouse’s property. If the debtor still controls the assets, then the creditors can still go after them. This approach does not work in community property states, but Illinois is not such a state. An estate planning attorney can help you find the best option.

Put Assets in Offshore Accounts

A foreign asset protection trust (FAPT) can place your assets where U.S. courts cannot touch them. This kind of trust is held in another country, and your assets are subject to foreign laws and justice systems. This can make it hard for an American company to file a lawsuit. While these trusts are helpful for those with a significant amount of assets, they can be expensive to establish and maintain, so they may not make sense for the average person.

Contact Our Arlington Heights Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Millions of lawsuits are filed in courts every year. You could be sued for any number of reasons reason, and these legal proceedings could threaten your estate.

Protect yourself with the proper tools. The Arlington Heights estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. can help you understand your options. Schedule a consultation with our office today by filling out the online form or calling (847) 325-5559.

Updated as of July 2019
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