Can one protect one's assets from attachment?

My girlfriend is getting something like 100k, and she wants to protect it from attachment. I can’t remember, but is a trust a good way to keep an attachment from happening? I know that the feds can gobble up anything, but is there a way to keep ones assets safe, kind of like OJ did?


Leave the country.

Unless someone walked up to her with a breifcase of unmarked bills, good luck avoiding IRS scrutiny and or determined bill collectors.

IIRC we have a doper who works in estate planning and such and some kind of trust may work but might not be worth the effort for that amount of money.

Make Yourself Judgment Proof

Short of hiding money in a wall safe the the best bet would seem to be to dump the money into a primary residence. Grabbing a person’s primary home (if paid for) is generally hard to accomplish legally.

Form a dummy corporation in Nevada and put all your assets in its account. Not sure about the nitty-gritty mechanics of how to do this, but there are web site out there advertising entities who will show you how for a fee.

It’s exceedingly difficult to protect assets from existing creditors (if you are already in default with them anyway) and harder yet from the IRS. Depending on the circumstances, it could be illegal. If you are talking about protecting it from future creditors, that’s a different story. Which is it?

Here is a previous thread in which we discussed a few asset protection schemes. The last post has some links to legitimate asset protection techniques.

This depends significantly on state law. Florida makes it nearly impossible for a primary residence to be taken for a judgment. New York, for instance, not so much.

Probably the biggest class of investment that is protected from most judgments is assets in qualified pension/retirement funds. However, there are limits to the amount you can put into your pension funds, and cannot withdraw from them without substantial penalty until retirement age.

Most other asset protection schemes have quite a few problems, mostly expense and limited effectiveness, as well as the “King Lear” issue of giving up control of your kingdom to someone who may not govern it as you wish.

There are also problems with converting non-exempt assets to exempt ones in order to avoid paying an existing judgment creditor. And as **Billdo **points out state laws vary substantially on how much, and under what circumstances, property is exempt. Entirities property (owned by husband and wife) is often exempt from attachment by creditors of an individual spouse, but not from a federal tax lien against one spouse.

The late Roy cohn (NYC lawyer and notorious cheat) was a master of evading taxation. First of all: own nothing-lease your property from firms that you control. Second: take no salary 9easy if you own a business). third: load up on debt-that discourages collection agencies.
Anecdotal, but i heard that the IRS gave up on collecting from Mr. Cohn.

I would sooner expect them to offer “pay no tax if you file before April 15th”

They will wait, and watch. Might have a hard time targeting him, but when it comes down to moving money to heirs and such thay will pounce.

Ding ding ding.

Mary Ellen Mark

Back to the OP: Are you trying to prevent an existing debt & attachment from being extended to cover these new assets, or are you trying to protect the assets from some potential hypothetical attachment which may happen in the future? Big difference.

Also, most of what matters here legally is state law, not Federal. So which state you are in would be a key piece of info for anyone trying to provide more concrete advice.

Yeah, and if the answer is anything other than “Florida,” good luck to you. Why do you think OJ, the Enron guys, and countless others moved to Florida when the writing was on the wall?

We don’t have state income tax and the weather rocks.

As long as it isn’t one of those times when the rocks are not being propelled by 120+ mph winds.

Who owns the stock in the corporation? Presumably you do, and the stock can be attached. So, your creditors take the stock, and then they own the corporation, and in turn the corporation’s bank account.

As others have noted, it makes a big difference whether you’re talking about keeping the money from existing creditors, or just trying to anticipate some future debt that might arise. The former is much harder, assuming you’re limiting yourself to above-board measures.

Just wanted to add that the linked page is full of nonsense.

I have heard rumours, just rumours mind you, that I know nothing about, of people getting “whole life” insurance policies in the Bahamas or Caymans that can be borrowed against but not attached to. I might have heard it was popular with the Medical Profession. Malpractice and all that.

First thing to do is not take advice from anyone on a public message board (except this post, of course) and get a professional account/investment advisor.
'Nuff said.