Asset protection planning is about protecting your assets from creditors — and it is not just for the super-wealthy.
Anyone can get sued. Lawsuits can stem from car crashes, credit card debt, bank foreclosures, or unhappy customers, among many other things. If someone wins a monetary judgment against you, your family could become bankrupt trying to pay it off. To keep your assets away from creditors, you need to move them somewhere where creditors can't reach them. Asset protection techniques include maximizing contributions to IRAs, moving funds to an irrevocable trust, retitling various assets, or using limited liability companies or family limited partnerships.
To develop an asset protection plan, you need to talk to your attorney. Your attorney can discuss your short- and long-term financial goals and help you create a plan that will work for you.
It is important to note that asset protection planning only works if you act before you are sued. Under the law, you may not defraud current creditors. If you are already being sued or if you know you are going to be sued and you transfer assets so that creditors can't reach them, the court will reverse the transfer. That is why it is a good idea to put a plan into place now — before it is too late.