By David Walker, Attorney at Law
Recently a client wanted to protect his new house from lawsuits or creditors. His ex-wife was constantly filing suits against him. He has four minor children.
He decided to place ownership of his house in a limited liability company (LLC). The children own a minority interest in the LLC. He will give them a small percentage each year so that eventually they will own the majority of the LLC. However, the children own nonvoting interests, while his share is a voting interest. Creditors generally will have more difficulty reaching LLC shares than outright ownership of property.
He is also what is known as the “manager” of the LLC, which is similar to the chief executive officer, and controls the decision making of the LLC.
He also created an irrevocable trust to own the children’s shares in the LLC. He will not place shares of the LLC in the children’s names outright. The trustee of the trust that owns their shares will manage the shares. His creditors should not be able to reach the assets in the trust, so these will remain in trust for the children.
Why an irrevocable trust? With a revocable trust, the owner of the assets (the Grantor) retains too much power over the disposition of the trust assets. This direct control nullifies possible defenses against potential frivolous lawsuits. The property is also still considered to be owned by the grantor for estate tax purposes.
With an irrevocable trust, all of the property in the trust, plus all future appreciation on the property, is out of the taxable estate. That means ultimate estate tax liability may be less, resulting in a more tax efficient way to transfer accumulated assets to beneficiaries.
David Sinclair Walker, Jr. P.C.
-Admitted in GA and D.C. -UGA Law ’76 -Certified Mediator -Georgia Bar No. 731725
Published in the Gwinnett Citizen