Newsletter Articles

Asset Protection In Estate Planning

There are many methods that individuals can use to shield assets from debt collection. Basic asset protection involves using statutory exemptions from debt collection to the greatest extent possible. In California, however, the only secure exemption of any significant amount is for certain retirement plans; other exemptions are greatly limited.

Asset protection can be combined with estate tax planning. For instance, limited partnerships or LLCs are often used to consolidate assets and transfer substantial interests to heirs, while providing a discount in the value of the underlying assets. At the same time, debt collection against partnership assets is cumbersome.

Long-term asset protection also involves asset-protection trusts. In California, a settlor cannot establish an asset-protection trust for the settlor’s benefit. To be effective, the trust must be created by another party, such as a parent or grandparent. Accordingly, it is appropriate to ask yourself whether you want to provide asset protection for your children. Similarly, clients whose parents have significant assets may be informed that parents can leave assets to them in a manner designed to foster asset protection. There are several different types of asset-protection trusts. Substantial assets also can be disposed of through a dynasty trust, which is designed to be free of the claims of most creditors and wealth-transfer taxes indefinitely. Foreign trusts can be used to protect substantial assets and are highly effective if funded and maintained properly.

Many asset-protection plans involve more than one of these devices. Regardless of the type of asset-protection plan adopted, the fraudulent transfer laws must always be taken into account as the plan is devised and implemented.

About the Author
D. Steven Yahnian has been a member of the California Bar and a practicing Attorney since 1980. He has also been a California CPA since 1984. Mr. Yahnian also holds the CFP® designation.

Mr. Yahnian practices in the following areas of law through YAHNIAN LAW CORPORATION:

  • Estate Planning & Administration
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Tax Planning, Tax Debt Resolution and Tax Litigation
  • Business & Corporate Law and Planning
  • Real Property Law & Planning

As a CPA/CFP, Mr. Yahnian also has a separate accounting and tax return preparation practice called DSA ACCOUNTING.

Mr. Yahnian is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in the following
• Taxation Law and
• Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law.

Mr. Yahnian received a B.S. degree in Accounting from USC, a J.D. from Loyola University of Los Angeles School of Law and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University Law School. He also has a Certificate in Taxation from UCLA (with distinction).

See websites:



To subscribe to our newsletter, please fill out the form below with your contact information as well as how we may serve you, and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible. For immediate assistance, please call 559-733-8505 and one of our staff will be happy to speak with you.