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Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law

Houma Asset Protection Attorney

Asset protection techniques have been used for many years to help protect assets from seizure by creditors. However, in recent years asset protection has come to the financial planning forefront as the number of lawsuits, both frivolous and meritorious, has increased. Due to the increasing need to protect assets from creditors, asset protection planning has become an integral part of retirement planning and estate planning. Most people wish to protect their homes from loss due to fire, so they purchase homeowner’s insurance. In addition, many people protect their assets from catastrophic medical expenses through adequate health insurance. Just as assets must be protected from risk of catastrophic medical expenses or loss by fire, assets must be protected from seizure by creditors. Liability insurance provides some protection from personal injury claims and other liability exposure; however, certain liabilities are usually excluded (e.g. intentional acts). In addition, liability exposure may exceed policy limits. A $1 million policy does not do much good if a jury awards a plaintiff a $10 million judgment. If you have questions about protecting your assets, contact Houma asset protection attorney John Sirois at 985-580-2520 or by email at

Asset protection planning is a legal and legitimate way to help insulate assets from future creditors. To reach this end, asset protection planning does not attempt to defraud creditors, hide assets or evade taxes. Rather, assets may be protected through adequate liability insurance, by making assets less appealing to creditors, and by placing assets out of the reach of creditors. The last two objectives help to deter potential lawsuits and encourage settlements for more reasonable amounts. A key point to remember is that successful asset protection planning must begin prior to the creation of a liability. A transfer of assets after a liability arises may be treated as a fraudulent transfer and may be nullified.

Metairie Asset Protection Attorney

Asset protection planning is not only for the wealthy. In fact, anyone who owns assets worth seizing should take steps to adequately protect their assets. Consider this example. Boudreaux is in an automobile accident, and it is determined that he is at fault. Boudreaux acknowledges that he is at fault, but he believes the plaintiff’s injuries are highly exaggerated. The plaintiff is suing for chronic neck and back pain; however, the medical experts disagree as to the severity of the injury caused by the accident. Boudreaux’s automobile insurance will pay up to its policy limits; however, what if the injured plaintiff has won a judgment for an amount far greater than his policy limit? The plaintiff can seize Boudreaux’s personal assets to satisfy the remainder of the judgment. An investment portfolio or rental property that Boudreaux relied upon for retirement income may have to be sold to pay the judgment creditor. Without proper planning, no one with assets worth seizing is immune from a similar fate. Contact Metairie asset protection attorney John Sirois by email at if you have questions about protecting your assets.

A similar outcome may result from a business owner, engineer, architect, lawyer, doctor or other professional who is liable to a judgment creditor in an amount exceeding liability/malpractice insurance limits. A judgment creditor may collect the monetary award through liens, seizure and other means of collection. It is no secret that individuals and businesses with deep pockets are highly susceptible to lawsuits. Proper planning can help anyone with assets worth protecting insulate their assets from seizure by a judgment creditor.

Kenner Asset Protection Lawyer

Of the many sources of liability, it is often the liability that arises “out of the blue” that creates the problem. Unplanned liabilities are often underinsured or not insured at all.

Some common sources of liability include:

  • Tort liability from your actions or lack of actions. Tort liability includes intentional torts and unintentional torts (negligence). A personal injury claim arising out of an automobile accident is a common example. In addition, malpractice liability for failure to follow the professional standard of care is another type of tort liability.
  • Premises liability through the ownership of real estate or business interests. Homeowners and business owners may be liable for the injuries sustained by persons on their property.
  • Parents are liable for the acts of their minor or unemancipated children. The liability is absolute and is not based on a presumption of fault or on a failure to properly supervise or train.
  • Business owners have vicarious liability for the acts of their employees.
  • Landowners have environmental liability for above or below ground hazards regardless of the landowner’s knowledge of the hazard.
  • General partners are personally liable for the acts of other partners. In addition, a defective limited liability partnership or corporation may be treated as a general partnership exposing the “partners” to unlimited personal liability.
  • Corporate shareholders may face unlimited personal liability when a judgment creditor succeeds in “piercing the corporate veil” if corporate formalities are not followed.
  • Business owners, physicians, attorneys, architects, accountants, corporate officers, corporate directors and other licensed professionals are particularly susceptible to lawsuits. However, proper planning can help anyone with assets worth protecting insulate their assets from seizure by a judgment creditor.

Houma-Thibodaux Asset Protection Lawyer

  • Successful asset protection planning must begin prior to the creation of a liability. A transfer of assets after a liability arises may be treated as a fraudulent transfer and may be nullified.
  • The first line of defense of asset protection planning is adequate liability insurance.
  • Exempt assets provide additional protection, although some assets have low dollar limits on the exemptions.
  • Life Insurance, annuities and IRAs are provided generous exemptions from seizure by Louisiana law.
  • Federal law provides exemptions from seizure for employer retirement plans (e.g. 401k plans).
  • Transferring assets to the spouse with a lower exposure to liability can help to protect assets.
  • Other techniques such as trusts, corporations, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies provide additional insulation from lawsuits and creditors.

John works with clients throughout Louisiana including Houma, Thibodaux, Metairie, Kenner, Jefferson, New Orleans, Harahan, Gretna, and the River Parishes.

Contact Houma-Thibodaux asset protection lawyer John Sirois of Houma at 985-580-2520, or by e-mail to schedule a consultation. His knowledge and experience will bring you peace of mind.

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