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It is important to choose an asset protection attorney with care, as this professional will be entrusted to protect valuable personal and professional assets. Choosing the best attorney begins by outlining the particular needs of the estate in detail and matching them to attorneys with the most relevant skills and experience. Qualified attorneys can be found in local law directories and through recommendations by general lawyers and accountants. Once a list is gathered, the choice can be narrowed down by careful screening, asking about specific asset protection plans that have been created for past clients and determining which attorney communicates best.
Asset protection attorneys are growing in number, but the quality of professionals in the field does not tend to be uniform. In order to find a list of qualified potential prospects, one can start by contacting the local law professional regulatory body and asking for the names of attorneys practicing in that area. General practice attorneys and accountants who are experienced in their fields may also have recommendations for attorneys who specialize in asset protection.
It is best to first screen each prospect by phone in order to determine if the asset protection attorney has the basic qualifications necessary. It may be helpful to ask what kind of law the attorney studied and at which school. A strong asset protection attorney should possess an understanding of both estate planning and tax law and have extensive experience setting up limited liability companies, limited partnerships and living trusts. Getting an idea of how the attorney has created asset protection plans in the past and how he or she would approach implementing a new plan can help narrow down a list of potential attorneys.
When asking for information about plans the asset protection attorney has previously created, try to get as much detail as possible. Find out if the attorney knows how to use retirement plans and IRAs, insurance, and the formation of corporations and trusts to create a comprehensive and effective plan. Make sure the attorney also has a solid understanding of the rights of debtors and creditors, business entities and litigation and the complexities of tax laws. It is also important that the attorney has had experience defending an estate against creditors in court.
Once the best prospects are chosen, it may be best to arrange an interview with each one. Observe how each asset protection attorney communicates and try to determine if he or she understands the needs of the estate. Overall, the attorney should know what it takes to legally, ethically and effectively shield assets from creditors. He or she also should be able to anticipate what kinds of issues could arise with an estate. A reliable professional will not only possess that knowledge, but have the experience to support it as well.
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