Asset protection and estate planning, though related, are different strategies used to accomplish different goals. If your objective is to avoid liability because you are in a high-risk profession, e.g., a doctor, then the primary strategy to maintain your assets for your enjoyment should be asset protection. Generally, a revocable living trust is not a viable asset protection vehicle, nor is a land trust. Both can be reached with appropriate judgments. A corporation can also be "pierced" if its only reason for existing is to avoid creditor liability. Furthermore, transferring assets into most vehicles within a certain period solely for the purpose of avoiding creditors is referred to as a "fraudulent transfer" and will be undone as quickly as the creditor can get a judge to hear its case.
Key tools in asset protection, or "wealth preservation," are malpractice insurance, umbrella insurance, a LLC, domestic asset protection trusts, and offshore trusts. LLCs are useful tools and require complex planning. Domestic asset protection trusts are prepared under the laws of various states and are just now starting to be tested in the courts; the tests have been mixed. Offshore trusts can be viable depending on the jurisdiction and one must be willing to allow a trustee in another country to have legal ownership of your assets.
I strongly recommend you contact an attorney with experience in wealth preservation so that you don't unwarily set yourself up for contentious and costly litigation later. Spending time and money to insure your net worth is more prudent than spending what will be more time and a lot more money to pay court costs, attorneys' fees, penalties, and judgments because you tried it on your own.
The answers and information I provide here, via a link, or any other reference do not create an attorney-client relationship. Before acting on any information provided, you should contact an attorney who has experience with your issue Though I may answer questions posed by individuals in other jurisdictions, I am licensed to practice only in the State of Illinois. If you reside outside the State of Illinois and your matter does not relate to a person or property inside the State of Illinois, you should contact counsel in your particular state. IRS Circular 230 Notice: "To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein."
There are many different types of trusts. Protection from creditors is possible but usually not cost-effective for most "average" people. For most people having adequate insurance is sufficient. In some situations there are strategies for keeping assets separate from a spouse, etc. Avoiding traffic tickets is not a typical worry of someone trying to shield assets.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
Too many types to count and trusts can be created for many types of special purposes.
The standard trusts avoids probate and guardianship as well as provides privacy and speed of administration.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
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