If I lose a general lawsuit, what assets, if any, are safe from collection efforts?

I caused an auto accident in which I had the state minimum liability insurance amts. A pending lawsuit exceeds the insurance amt. Can I shield any assets? Specifically, can I give my son enough money to buy a house for me to live in but put the deed in his name? I realize I give up control of the new asset but I trust my son. I am widowed and live by myself in a house that’s upside down so I’ll be leaving it before too much longer.

Asked on July 8, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, one's personal assets such as a television, bed, couches and the like up to a collective aggregate of $8,000 are usually exempt from levy by a judgment creditor.

Your 401 k and other pension/retirement funds are also exempt from levy.

The problem i see with you transferring money to your son to buy a home to evade the potential judgment creditor stemming from the car accident is that such could be in violation of the "Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act" is enacted by your state whose purpose is to preclude fraudulent conveyance of assets with respect to creditors.

I suggest that you have a face to face meeting with the presumed defense attorney that you have concerning the auto accident to settle it for the full policy limits that you may have with no recourse to your personal assets.


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