My family member who lives in NY is being sued for a car accident that their son (driver) is being sued for. He died, his best friend died, and one other person severely injured. The lawsuit goes to jury trial in the coming months. Is there anyway to protect their assets? e.g. Houses, Cars, Bank Accounts, Retirement, etc? Thanks
Once a legal process, such as a lawsuit, has begun moving assets to different places in order to protect them violates debtor creditor law, and also fraudulent transfer law.
Assets can only legally be protected in New York before the threat of a legal claim is made.
Do not listen to any advice you get about moving assets, because if a judge in that lawsuit finds out that assets have been moved then the people who are legally responsible to pay for the judgment of the lawsuit can be held in jail for contempt of court for hiding assets. There are many, many cases in New York where judges have done this.
Why was there no auto liability insurance? That was a penny-wise and pound-foolish move.
I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice, and I disclaim any liability for the outcome if you do. Any opinions offered on matters outside New York State are for general informational purposes only.
Retain an attorney who knows and understands this area of the law.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff
I assume that there was auto insurance. If so, an attorney was provided by the carrier to your family member. [question: did the family member have an umbrella?]. The attorney should be receiving certified letters, RRR, from your family member demanding to know why the case is not being settled within the policy limits? There are many reasons. It could be that your family member has significant assets and the injured parties want more than simply what the insurance will pay. Your family member needs to know the answer to that question.
If there was no auto insurance, forget the above.
And I agree that moving assets at this point is not a good idea.
Some assets are exempt from attachment, others can be placed into a Trust. But you have to be careful so as not to engage in a fraudulent conveyance. Use the Avvo "Find a lawyer" feature to locate a lawyer near you who practices in Trusts and Estates. Most plaintiffs' attorneys will not attach personal assets beyond insurance limits, though there are exceptions. Ultimately, Bankruptcy can protect a significant amount of assets.
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