Whether you’re going through a divorce or planning your estate for the future, you should be conversant in the best methods for maximizing and retaining your income and assets. At Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz, our Pittsburgh asset protection attorneys work closely with accountants, bankers, estate planners and health care professionals to ensure our clients have plans consistent with their long-term goals and safeguarded from adverse tax consequences and needless dissipation.

Would a trust be helpful in protecting my assets for my children or other beneficiaries?

One of the vehicles by which assets are preserved is a trust, which is not recorded in any public office, and is therefore shielded from public view. This can be a welcome advantage where there are significant privacy interests at stake. Spouses who are considering trusts as an asset protection vehicle should also consider the administrative burden and cost, the potential loss of control over assets, and difficulty of unwinding a trust if plans change. Pollock Begg lawyers often work closely with estate planning lawyers, tax accountants and financial planners to develop the best strategy.

Is it prudent to divest assets that might have to be divided in a divorce?

Not necessarily. There are federal and state laws in place to make sure individuals are not given the liberty to convey assets to third parties for the purpose of defrauding actual or potential creditors. An asset protection plan should be developed sooner rather than later, be transparent, and deal with third parties at arm’s length and for adequate consideration, is one that is more likely to avoid the dreaded designation of a “fraudulent transfer.”

Furthermore, a divorce court might treat assets that have been divested surreptitiously as advances to the spouse who divested them, which might reduce that spouse’s distribution of the remaining property. Or, the court under certain circumstances may exercise jurisdiction over a third party who is in control of the divested asset.

Getting professional advice in a timely fashion is essential. Situations may arise in which a party needs long-term medical or nursing home care, and if the proper asset protection precautions have not been taken well ahead of time (for example, prior to the five-year Medicare look-back period), an individual may find staggering monthly home or hospital care bills very quickly consume assets intended to pass to that individual’s children or other beneficiaries.

With the tools of trusts, insurance, custodial accounts, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and knowledge of applicable state and federal law at our disposal, we at Pollock Begg offer a thorough and comprehensive asset protection service crafted to fit the particular needs of each client.

Call us today to speak to one of our Pittsburgh attorneys about your asset protection options.

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