Table of Contents
Nevada law allows some of the most convenient options for setting up asset protection trusts in the United States. The Nevada legislature was one of the first to permit domestic asset protection trusts (DAPTs), also known as self-settled spendthrift trusts (SSST).
Individuals who set up a Nevada asset protection trust enjoy several benefits discussed throughout this article.
Be sure to learn how a Nevada self-settled spendthrift trust can help you safeguard your assets and why you should consider establishing a DAPT, especially if you practice one of the high-risk professions likely to face a liability claim.
An asset protection trust (APT) protects the grantor’s real or personal property by shielding trust assets from the grantor’s creditors or claims against the estate. In an APT, the grantor is a permissible beneficiary who has access to trust funds, but with some limitations.
An APT is an irrevocable trust, so unlike with a revocable living trust, any assets you transfer to an APT receive a degree of protection from lawsuits. APTs in Nevada count as domestic asset protection trusts (DAPTs) since they operate within the U.S.
A DAPT is a spendthrift trust. Nevada’s spendthrift provision clause prevents the grantor’s creditors from accessing trust funds directly. Any asset distribution must be made by an independent trustee. The independent trustee controls fund withdrawals, sales of trust assets, and so forth.
A grantor can transfer many types of assets to a DAPT, including cash, stocks, real estate, and business assets. Grantors may even place a limited liability company in a trust to avoid probate or plan for incapacity.
While the trust creator gives up a significant level of control over their property when they transfer assets to a DAPT, they can still request distributions to beneficiaries and direct trust investments.
In 1999, Nevada passed the Spendthrift Trust Act that allowed individuals to establish a self-settled spendthrift trust. In this type of trust, the grantor can also be the beneficiary. Other beneficiaries may include the grantor’s spouse, children, grandchildren, or any persons the grantor names.
In Nevada, distributions from an asset protection trust can only take place through an independent trustee. This trustee should be a Nevada trust company.
Nevada’s self-settled spendthrift trust laws help protect the beneficiary’s interest better than similar laws in many other states. Here’s why.
Nevada law keeps evolving to make asset protection trusts easier to manage. A 2009 legislature recognized the role of trust protectors, who protect the beneficiary’s interest by supervising trustees and making sure the trust complies with its terms.
Nevada also protects attorneys and investment advisors involved in setting up DAPTs from third-party legal claims, unless the claimant can prove that the attorney or advisor acted in bad faith and directly caused any damages suffered.
When you transfer property to a Nevada asset protection trust, you legally relinquish these assets. Once the statute of limitations runs out, the trust property is safe from any creditor.
Let’s say that Sam, a real estate developer, embarks on a high-risk business venture, keeping most funds himself but transferring some valuable stocks to a DAPT. When Sam’s project fails and he faces debt two years later, his creditor will have difficulty making a claim against the stocks, because they now belong to the trust and the statute of limitations has expired.
A Nevada DAPT usually works in conjunction with an LLC for charging order protection. In Nevada, a charging order is the judgment creditor’s exclusive remedy, so the creditor cannot force an LLC to distribute funds.
Keep in mind that a Nevada court may reverse asset transfers to an irrevocable trust if it rules the grantor set up the trust with fraudulent intentions. A DAPT often won’t protect assets from an existing or likely future creditor.
To be safe, work with a trusted asset protection firm like our team at Blake Harris Law if you are considering setting up an asset protection trust.
You can set up a Nevada asset protection trust even if you aren’t a Nevada resident. Even foreign nationals and international businesses can set up asset protection trusts in Nevada. However, at least one trustee must be either a Nevada resident or a Nevada trust company with trust powers within the state.
The option of creating Nevada asset protection trusts is a major advantage for people who need to protect their assets but would prefer to avoid the cost of setting up and maintaining an offshore trust.
Domestic asset protection trusts in Nevada must comply with the following requirements:
What happens if you transfer assets to a Nevada asset protection trust, and then your creditor, who resides outside Nevada, makes a claim against you?
Even if the creditor operates through another state’s court, Nevada asset protection trusts should still safeguard the grantor’s property, provided that the claimant cannot prove fraudulent intentions.
If the trust assets include real property outside Nevada, it can complicate court rulings. Our team at Blake Harris Law can help you choose the optimal strategies for protecting each property type.
Currently, you can set up a domestic asset protection trust in 18 states, including South Dakota, Ohio, Michigan, Alaska, and Hawaii. So how does Nevada compare to other states that recognize self-settled spendthrift trusts?
Like Nevada, South Dakota also has favorable DAPT laws. Nevada’s self-settled spendthrift trusts offer highly effective asset protection, but South Dakota laws are friendlier for decanting—i.e., asset transfer to a new trust with different provisions. South Dakota laws allow dynasty trusts to endure forever, whereas in Nevada, a trust expires after 365 years.
In Nevada, any married couple can set up a community property trust, whereas in Delaware, this option only exists for state residents. Also, Delaware imposes a four-year lookback period on asset transfer to trusts for new creditors, and a one-year period for existing creditors. In Nevada, these lookback periods equal two years and six months, respectively.
In Delaware, personal property may remain in a dynasty trust in perpetuity, but real estate can only remain in a trust for 110 years.
Ohio authorized domestic asset protection trusts comparatively recently, with the Ohio Legacy Trust Act of 2013. Ohio ranks high among DAP-friendly states. The creditor statute of limitations in Ohio is 1.5 years.
Like other DAP states, Ohio loses to Nevada on the point of exception creditors. In Ohio, certain financial obligations like spousal support or child support override the irrevocable trust’s asset protection. In contrast, Nevada’s legislature recognizes no exception creditors.
Similar to Delaware, Alaska implements a four-year statute of limitations on trust assets and a one-year preexisting creditor lookback period. Like South Dakota, Alaska allows dynasty trusts to last forever.
While Alaska offers excellent privacy protections for trusts, Nevada has stronger confidentiality laws. Asset protection trusts are exempt from state income tax in both Nevada and Alaska.
In all the states above, you can safeguard your wealth when you transfer assets to a DAPT. Our experienced asset protection planning attorneys at Blake Harris Law can help you understand the nuances of asset protection trusts in different states and decide which state can accommodate your needs best.
When you consider setting up a Nevada asset protection trust, you may ask how much it will cost you. The good news is that setting up a domestic trust costs less than what you would pay for an offshore trust.
Please keep in mind that the costs of setting up a trust can vary depending on your plan’s legal complexity and other factors, like the value of the trust property. Contact us at Blake Harris Law for more specific information on how much you can expect to pay for an asset protection trust.
Thanks to their comparatively reasonable costs, DAPTs are a solid option for moderately high-value estates starting from about $500,000. These trusts can protect assets that belong to people in high-risk professions, like surgeons, lawyers, and real estate professionals, who face a high chance of a malpractice lawsuit throughout their careers.
Are you interested in establishing a self-settled spendthrift trust in Nevada to protect your assets? Contact our legal team at Blake Harris Law, a firm that will serve your financial interests in a committed and ethical attorney-client relationship. We can help you safeguard your legacy and secure your family’s future with strategic estate planning.
Call us at 786-559-1209 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation today.