How can I protect my assets from a liability lawsuit judgment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2014

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How can I protect my assets from a liability lawsuit judgment?

Asked on October 1, 2014 under Criminal Law, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no good way to protect your assets from a DUI/DWI judgment IF you were  already involved in the DUI/DWI; that's because any of the steps which you'd typically take to protect assets, such as putting them into a trust, having them owned by a corporation or LLC, or transferring them to a relative, could--and likely would--be seen as a transaction done to defraud creditors (the judgment creditor; i.e. the person(s) suing you) and could be set aside on that basis. If you haven't had the DUI/DWI-related accident yet but are wondering about what structures you could generally put in place to protect assets from lawsuits, then the things mentioned a above (trusts; corporations or LLC; transfers to relatives) are all viable options and could be considered, though as all also have tax consequences and significant actual or potential negative legal consequences (e.g. loss of control of the asset), you are advised to consult with an attorney in detail before doing anything.

Note that bankruptcy does not protect you from DUI/DWI liability; you cannot discharge debts from DUI/DWI  liability in bankruptcy.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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