Asset protection means a strategy for preserving your assets from creditors and potential creditors. Florida actually has comparatively favorable law with respect to creditor protection and makes it possible to protect your assets quite effectively by making relatively simple changes, particularly if you are married. If you are considering marriage, then a prenuptial agreement can be an absolutely essential part of protecting your assets from the possibility of divorce. Harrison Estate Law also incorporates advice regarding asset protection during our estate planning process for all clients who are concerned with asset protection. A few of the asset protection strategies that can be employed are the following:
Florida provides an exemption for your home — protecting it and its value from most creditors — if it is on 1/2 acre or less inside city limits or 160 acres or less outside city limits, subject to certain exceptions.
If you are married and set up joint bank or brokerage accounts, then properly titled accounts will protect the assets from any creditor suing only one spouse. Under current law, if your bank does not have an option for “tenants by the entireties” then the law presumes that your account receives this protection. If your bank does offer “tenants by the entireties” as a titling option and you did not choose it when you set up the joint account, then you will need to make a change in order to protect your assets.
These types of assets and accounts are generally provided with broad statutory protection against creditors in Florida.
Limited liability companies can be used to restrict the ability of creditors to reach underlying assets owned by an LLC. Because of lending requirements, it is often impractical to title residential rental property in an LLC, in which case insurance becomes a more important consideration.
Harrison Estate Law is happy to speak with you about how our asset protection and estate planning services can help you meet your goals. Please contact us online or via email or call 352-559-9828 to schedule a complementary asset protection consultation. If you don’t live close to Gainesville we are happy to set up a phone or Skype call.