Jacksonville Asset Protection Lawyer

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Jacksonville Asset Protection Attorney

Any individual or family who has accumulated assets during their lifetime, including their life savings, home, real estate, and business investments, can benefit from asset protection. Any legal claim has the potential to threaten everything you have worked for. A personal injury claim, other civil judgments, creditor claims, probate court, actions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and bankruptcy could affect your assets and estate. Although these claims may impact your finances, the goal of asset protection is to safeguard certain assets and the majority of your estate behind one or multiple levels of protection so that much of your estate is untouched.

Asset protection combines several aspects of law, including estate planning, tax law, business planning, and inheritance law. There are several options for asset protection under Florida law, and they can help you safeguard the wealth that you’ve earned while retaining control over it. You need an asset protection plan that fits the unique needs of your assets and your family. An asset protection attorney is an essential asset when creating a plan to protect your estate and limit your liability.

The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A.: Helping You Protect Your Assets

Asset protection planning is a growing field in legal services, meaning that finding an attorney with the necessary experience to handle your case may be difficult. Fortunately, at the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., we have been proudly serving our community in Jacksonville for 20 years, working in estate planning, estate administration, and asset protection. We know how these aspects of law intersect and how Florida, local, and federal laws impact your estate. We have the knowledge and experience you need to help protect your assets in a way that meets your goals.

What Is Asset Protection Planning in Jacksonville?

Asset protection keeps your assets safeguarded from legal and creditor liabilities. These assets may include your home, business, bank accounts, investments, real estate properties, and any other high-value assets and property. Asset protection does not prevent a creditor from knowing about an asset, but it provides additional legal protections that make it very difficult for a creditor to interfere with the assets.

Asset protection is incredibly useful to begin prior to a claim being filed against you, but it can still protect your estate even after a claim has been filed. The most effective steps for proactive asset protection are:

  1. Inventory your assets and their ownership, acquisition, titling, and liability.
  2. Determine which assets are exempt from creditors or civil claims and which need asset protection.
  3. Create an asset protection plan for exposed assets using any legal routes available.

Florida law has a significant number of options for asset protection as well as many creditor exemptions, making it one of the most effective states to protect your assets in.

What Are Florida Asset Protection Laws?

Florida’s extensive legal protections for assets can be found in:

  1. Florida Constitution: Several fundamental asset protection laws are found here, including Florida’s homestead protection laws, which are the most effective way to safeguard your home.
  2. Florida Statutes: Certain statutes protect specific assets from creditor or civil claims.
  3. Florida Common Law: Common law interprets statutes and the Constitution through precedent, and this can add additional protection based on similar cases.

What Is the Strongest Asset Protection in Florida?

Florida is well-known for its homestead protections, which are among the most effective ways to protect your assets. Under these laws, an individual’s primary residence cannot be collected by creditors. Because of this, relocation to a more expensive homestead to protect assets is a common tactic to avoid creditor collections.

For your property to be considered a protected homestead under state laws, the following must be true:

  1. It is your primary residence. This can be any real estate as long as you intend it to be your primary residence. You can have secondary residences in other states as long as the residence in Florida is your single primary residence.
  2. You occupy the home. Occupation can occur while claims are still being managed by the court, but it cannot happen after a court judgment has been entered. If this doesn’t happen, the judgment may impact the property before it has become exempt under the homestead law.
  3. You own the legal title or have a beneficial interest in the home. This can be under your name or in a revocable trust, but it cannot be in a corporate entity or an irrevocable trust.

There are no value limitations for the homestead, but there are physical size limitations. These are:

  1. A home within city limits is limited to ½ acre.
  2. A home in unincorporated or annexed county is limited to 160 acres.

Separate properties within this size limit that share a border are also considered protected homesteads. However, the homestead protection doesn’t extend to property or finances obtained by fraud.

Exempt Assets and Tools for Asset Protection in Jacksonville

There are several types of assets that are exempt from creditors in Florida. These include:

  • Homestead protection
  • Income of the head of a household
  • Retirement accounts, including a 401k or an IRA
  • Disability income
  • Up to $1,000 of a vehicle’s value
  • Up to $1,000 of personal property or up to $4,000 if you are not a homeowner
  • Life insurance cash value, which protects the owner of the policy, not the beneficiary
  • Annuities contracts, including proceeds in a bank account if the amount can be traced
  • Interest in certain multi-member limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • LLCs and limited partnerships for business and business investment assets
  • Prepaid tuition plans
  • Health aids
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Medical saving accounts (MSA)
  • Estate planning trusts that specifically address inheritance rights

Another protection is known as tenants by the entireties. This is provided to those who are married and applies when one spouse is facing a creditor claim. Assets cannot just be jointly owned to qualify for this protection.

Social security is protected from creditors by federal law rather than state law. An attorney is essential to determine which of these asset protections can be applied to your unique estate and goals.

Learn Your Options for Asset Protection

State and federal laws for asset protection are constantly changing. The experienced attorney at the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., can review your assets and help you create a customized asset protection plan. Contact us today to begin addressing your asset protection concerns.

Practice Areas

Probate & Estate
Elder Law


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