If I might be sued regarding a car accident for which I was at fault, is there anything I can do now, but before actually being sued, to protect my assets?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2015

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If I might be sued regarding a car accident for which I was at fault, is there anything I can do now, but before actually being sued, to protect my assets?

My insurance has a $100,000 personal injury limit but they are saying the medical damages could be over that in which case I might be sued. I’m retired and am living off social security and investment income.

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Accident Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It would be very difficult to protect your assets now:

1) If you transfer them to an LLC or to family for less than market value, creditors can very likely have that transfer set aside, since it was done for less than market value after you were aware of the possibility of a suit, as a transfer made to defraud creditors. (And transfers for market value wouldn't help you: you'd get the market value of the assets, and that money could then be targetted by creditors, so you would not have protected assets, but merely changed their form.)

2) Similarly, putting them into a trust could possibly be set aside at this juncture--and the only trusts that would offer any real protection would be ones that deprive you of control over the assets (e.g. irrevocable trusts where you are not the trustee).

Unfortunately, the time to protect your assets is before you need to do so, since once you need the protection, the transfers may be viewed as attempts to defraud creditors.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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