Monday, January 31, 2011

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust or otherwise known as a "Living Trust" is an estate planning and asset protection tool, which helps provide a smooth transition upon a death or incapacity. Unlike a will, a Revocable Living Trust avoids probate court and guardianship court. A will is a legal document, which distributes your property upon your death. A will does not deal with any planning issues while you are alive unlike a Revocable Living Trust.

Additionally, a Revocable Living Trust is a private document, which is not public information like a will. Typically, a Revocable Living Trust is coupled with a pour over will. A pour over will is a will, which only is applicable if you did not fully fund your Revocable Living Trust. Thus, a pour over will is a catchall exception, if you purchased an item like an automobile and forget to properly title it in your Revocable Living Trust's name. Often times, clients title new assets without much thought about their Revocable Living Trust. This is why we give our clients a written letter at the Trust Signing, which clearly describes the dos and don'ts for their Revocable Living Trust. Titling of one's assets are critical for your Revocable Living Trust to work as intended.

In my opinion, a Revocable Living Trust is a powerful asset protection tool because it minimizes disputes. Disputes are minimized because privacy protection simply does not give an adversary information to fight. For example, upon a person's death, no mailings are mailed to a disinherited relative like probate court. This invites a family conflict because a certified mailing must occur, which puts the person on high alert. With a Revocable Living Trust, the disputes often times resides because the person simply has no information to take an attorney and an attorney cannot attack the will like a living trust because often times, they have no access to the Revocable Living Trust.

In conclusion, a Revocable Living Trust is an excellent estate planning tool, which should be utilized. A Revocable Living Trust also is a cost-effective item, which reduces family conflicts and often times, a price cannot be put on continuing family harmony.

Sean Robertson is an estate planning and asset protection attorney. Sean Robertson can be reached at (312) 498-6080 or (630) 364-2318. Robertson Law Group, LLC has a downtown Chicago Office and Naperville Office.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Estate Planning as an Asset Protection Tool

An effective estate plan is a good asset protection plan. First, estate planning assists you avoid probate court and guardianship. Probate court and guardianship proceedings are costly and diminish assets quickly. Second, an good estate planning avoids litigation risks and family conflicts. Third, when a probate proceeding is required, notice to your creditors is mandatory. Often times, avoidance of probate enables your loved ones and heirs to avoid certain creditors. Upon your death, a creditor has two (2) years to file a claim against the probate estate.

Sean Robertson is an estate planning and asset protection attorney that assists families and business owners determine a cost-effective estate plan that is customized to their unique legal needs.

Sean Robertson can be reached at either 630-364-2318 or 312-498-6080.

Asset Protection and High Net Worth Families

Asset protection is critical for high net worth families, business owners, physicians, and dentists. Often times, I consult with a high net worth family and they are simply unprepared for the possibility of litigation and the risks associated with litigation.

Currently, my law firm is considering filing a lawsuit against a high net worth individual and business owner in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. This gentlemen has a lot of name brand cars, but his wealth is in serious jeopardy over one (1) law suit. Most likely, my law firm understands that this gentleman is ill-prepared to face the asset exposure of litigation. Asset protection gets important to potential Defendants when they face serious risks of litigation. Often times, asset protection is either minimally effective at this time or simply to late for real asset protection. However, I recommend that a qualified asset protection attorney evaluate your unique situation. Asset protection late may even be better than no asset protection, but the risks do increase.

If one attempts to avoid a judgment or lawsuit by fraudulently transferring their assets away from themselves, a creditor may force the Debtor to transfer the assets back to the Debtor. Good asset protection counsel is important on this and many other issues for high net worth families.

Sean Robertson is an Attorney that concentrates in asset protection, corporate, estate planning, and litigation in the Naperville and downtown Chicago area. Sean Robertson can be reached at (630) 364-2314 or (312) 498-6080.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Private Land Trust and Asset Protection

Private land trust are a good strategy for asset protection. Private land trust have their strengths and weaknesses. However, the weakness of a private land trust can be combined with other asset protection strategies. I have a client that has a $1.6 million judgment and their real estate was in land trust and it has shielded their properties from a judgment. In normal circumstances, after a judgment is recorded at the local recorder's office such as Dupage County Recorder's Office a lien is placed against all of the real estate owned by their person or persons.

What is a Private Land Trust?
A Private Land Trust is a way of owning real estate, which provides estate planning and asset protection benefits. A Private Land Trust provides privacy and shields the ownership of a property from public record. Second, a private land trust protects against liens and judgments. Private land trust offers basic asset protection, which is not complete asset protection. However, a private land trust is a cost-effective way to provide asset protection for real estate against foreclosures and liens. A Private Land Trust also may be beneficial for estate planning because one can designate the beneficiary of a Private Land Trust. One of the reasons people go through probate court upon a person's death is ownership of real estate. Probate court is a court which supervises the assets of a deceased person when they have no will or they have a will.

In conclusion, a Private Land Trust is an excellent tool for asset protection. A Private Trust can be combined with an Limited Liability Corporation or be customized to provide better or customized asset protection.

Sean Robertson is an asset protection attorney with offices in downtown Chicago and Naperville, Illinois. Sean Robertson can be reached at (312) 498-6080 or (630) 364-2318.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Liability Planning for Real Estate Owners

Liability and asset protection planning are critical for owners of real estate such as homeowners and real estate investors. In my experience, the most vulnerable to lawsuits are owners of real estate because they have failed to adequately protect their real estate from liability exposure.

There are a couple of simple but effective strategies to minimize your liabilities. First, every owner of real estate should set up a Private Land Trust, which is a mechanisms for owning real estate. The basic benefit of a Private Land Trust are judgments and liens do not attach to Private Land Trust. A Private Land Trust is essentially a way to hold or own the title of real estate. A Private Land Trust Company or other strategies may be employed. For example, Susan Smith owns a couple of real estate investment properties and has a judgment from one property. A judgment is a finding of guilt for an amount of money that she owes somebody. A judgment automatically attaches to real estate in Illinois. Thus, after the judgment has been recorded at the Cook or Dupage County Recorder of Deed's Office, Susan Smith cannot sell any of her real estate properties without paying off her judgment. This is a very big deal if Susan Smith is over the age of 50 years old because Susan Smith may only have a certain amount of years left in the workforce. A Private Land Trust can prevent Susan Smith from selling her real estate without satisfying this judgment. For real estate investors, a lien is a big deal.

The second basic strategy is owning your investment properties with an LLC. This is a big deal because an LLC may prevent a creditor from one property attacking your other property with a valid or bogus lawsuit against you. In my experience, most real estate investors own their properties in their personal names despite knowing that this is not smart. Often times, a real estate investor gets smart after the threat of a lawsuit. Insurance is often inadequate because insurance does not cover a lot of types of lawsuits such as creditor problems with a bank loan or mortgage foreclosure.

Sean Robertson is Managing Partner of Robertson Law Group, LLC based in Naperville and downtown Chicago. Sean Robertson can be reached at either (630) 364-2318 or (312) 498-6080 or

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Asset Protection and Litigation

Asset protection is critical in today's economy. Asset protection is a legal speciality, which is designed to protect one's business and personal assets to minimize one's exposure to taxes and liability risks.

Asset protection is the difference between bankruptcy and losing everything and peace of mind. There are several tools, which are critical for asset preservation purposes. The first tool is to understand your liability risks such as whether your personal residence is structured the correct way, whether you own any investment property (which is protected), and to examine what is your liability exposure to partnership, business, or real estate litigation.

An asset protection attorney will examine your liability risks and provide practical low-cost advice to minimize your liability risks and exposures. Second, an asset protection attorney will make sure your real estate, financial, and business liability risks are minimized and properly planned for. Finally, the asset protection attorney will educate you on how to properly minimize your liability risks going forward.

Sean Robertson is managing Partner of Robertson Law Group, LLC, which concentrates in asset protection, corporate and business law, litigation, and estate planning. Sean can be reached at 312-498-6080 or 630-364-2318. Robertson Law Group, LLC has offices in Naperville and downtown Chicago, Illinois.