Six Common Questions Regarding Asset Protection Trusts
Part 1 focuses on general Asset Protection Trust questions we often receive from families and advisors. Part 2 focuses on Nevada Asset Protection Trusts.
General Asset Protection
Asset protection can seem complicated, but it’s essential to understand how to preserve and protect your estate fully. With multiple protection strategies and your choice of jurisdictions to establish a trust, we’re sure you have questions.
While we won’t answer every question you have here, this FAQ serves to help you understand asset protection basics.
What is an Asset Protection Trust?
An Asset Protection Trust is an irrevocable trust created to protect beneficiaries from the potential negative consequences of transfer tax laws, divorce settlements, and bankruptcy regulations. The assets are legally titled to the trust, while the beneficiaries own an equitable interest in the trust assets.
What states allow for Asset Protection Trusts?
Seventeen states allow for Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
However, states are individual trust jurisdictions, and their asset protection laws vary. See the table below of industry-regarded leading trust jurisdictions.
What May I protect with asset protection?
Some of the most common (not an exhaustive list) asset protection applications estate planning professionals utilize are:
- Irrevocable Trusts
- U.S. Trusts
- International Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships
What is a seasoning period?
A seasoning period, also known as a statute of limitations, is the period from which wealth is transferred into a trust to when the trust legally protects the assets in the trust.
As you can see in the table above, Nevada and South Dakota carry a two-year seasoning period, and Delaware and Wyoming four years. Depending on a family’s situation, it may be crucial to protect assets as soon as possible.
What does it mean when a trust is irrevocable?
An irrevocable trust is one that cannot be modified or terminated without the permission of all beneficiaries. When assets transfer into the trust, the grantor no longer has rights of ownership to the assets.
Are there any circumstances in which one can modify an irrevocable trust?
In general, an irrevocable trust is one that cannot be modified. However, Nevada is one of only a few states that allow modifications on an irrevocable trust. The process of decanting is one way to modify an irrevocable trust in the state of Nevada. With proper legal guidance, an effective modification for many reasons is possible.
Above are the basics of an Asset Protection Trust. In Part 2, we take a closer look at Nevada Asset Protection Trusts, arguably the number one trust jurisdiction for asset protection.