There are two primary ways to protect your homestead exemption in Cook County, Illinois against liens and judgments. The first way is to transfer your house or property into a Private Land Trust. A Private Land Trust is a strategy that transfers your property out of you and your spouse's personal name. For married couples, the best method to protect against liens, judgments, and foreclosures are tenancy by entirety. Tenancy by entirety is a way of owning your personal residence in Illinois for married couples that protects one spouse from a judgment from the other spouse. Essentially, a creditor cannot foreclose your house if you and your spouse have your house as tenants by entirety. Combine this with a Private Land Trust which protects homestead exemptions against liens and you have a powerful asset protection strategy. It is not perfect and you should consult with an asset protection attorney.
The second method is to place the home or real estate into an Irrevocable Trust. An irrevocable trust places the property outside of your personal name. A creditor cannot place a lien or judgment on your house if you do not own the house. An irrevocable trust is like a fictional person and typically, your trustee is a close family friend or relative. Please be aware of the fraudulent transfer statute in Illinois. Generally, one cannot intentionally defraud a creditor of their right to collect on a judgment. In the right instances, an irrevocable trust is a powerful asset protection tool that prevents liens and judgments from attaching in Illinois.
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