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If someone has been served papers for a civil lawsuit, can they set up a trust and then transfer real estate to the trust ?

Denver, CO |

If someone has been served papers for a civil lawsuit, can they set up a trust after the civil suit is filed and then transfer real estate to the trust to keep from potentially losing the property?

Will the court honor the trust, or will they disqualify it if it is set-up after the civil suit has been filed?

Is a person's assets automatically frozen when a civil suit is filed against them, or ist that a separate action that must be conducted to keep a person from divesting their assets?

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Attorney answers 3


You need to confer with a lawyer to find out what the chances are of losing the suit. A good defense means no loss to you. A lawyer can also negotiate a possible settlement or long-term pay out. Setting up a trust with the sole purpose of avoiding a judgment is an act of fraud,and can subject you to severe penalties. There can be no attachment of an asset until a judgment is entered. After a judment is entered, if it exceeds the total worth of your assets you may file for bankruptcy. Civil Courts rarely freeze assets but crimina ones do if you have committed fraud and pursuant to a conviction in criminal couirt, the government wants the money to pay those you have deceived. You may find my legal guide on what court am I in and why? as well as the one explaiining litigation terms helpful.


A fraudent transfer isn't going to save any assets, and any transfer of assets for the purpose of hiding them from judgment-creditors is almost certainly fraud.

I'm not aware of any civil action that would automatically freeze assets upon filing. Once, and if, a judgment has been obtained, certain collection actions may freeze a portion of assets upon service.


While asset protection can be accomplished through the creation of a trust, any fraudulent transfer to avoid paying civil damages is, as a general rule, not allowed. There simply must be a non-fraudulent rationale to support the trust's creation for it to survive attack.

As for the status of a person's assets and a freeze upon the mere filing of a civil suit, the general rule is that allegations in a lawsuit complaint are just that -- allegations. Until such time as a final judgment is made in the lawsuit, those allegations remain unproven assertions.

I hope this helps.