Property Asset Protection Strategy In Case of Lawsuit?

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“I was let go be my employer on February third of this year. My family and I were residents, at that time, of California. We live today in Florida. Before moving and after deep consideration, my wife and I took to a law firm – which specializes in employees rights – the information surrounding my employment termination. A partner in this firm found what he (and we) believed to be a strong basis for a legal case of wrongful termination. After preparation for such, our attorneys sent to my former employer (with my approval) a communication for settlement discussions. I had been employed by the company for over nineteen years and was given no severance, which we contend to be a violation of my employment agreement.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The reasons given for my termination do not reach the level of just cause. In my written and verbal statements to our attorney, I worked to stick to facts and not single out individuals for whom it could be determined may have set me up for a punitive firing. In the communication to my former employer, our attorney strongly goes after one individual he sees as being a cause for my termination. My wife and I feel that the attorney is correct in this.

The communication to my former employer will put the aforementioned individual under investigation by the company for wrong-doing. We have a strong case for wrongful termination and gain of severance and possible damages, as our claims are not difficult to prove. My wife and I would not have entered into such an action if we were not confident of this. Our concern however, is with the individual who we correctly accuse of being instrumental in my termination. This person will do whatever necessary to create the perception of his innocence in the company’s eyes. He is a known liar. I have a slight fear that he could come after me physically and a stronger fear that he might do so legally.

As a ‘worst case scenario’ possibility, what should my wife and I do to protect our property against this person attempting to sue us? Should we quick deed our house to someone who we trust, as a protective measure? Our claims are all true and would have not been made otherwise. Would you have any suggestions to us as to how we might be able to protect our property.”

There are various methods of asset protection, such as the one you suggest – quitclaiming your house to someone – however depending on the ultimate facts, and the state in which you litigate, a court may still reach the asset if it finds that you “hid” the asset specifically to avoid the court’s reach during anticipated litigation. In addition, you run the risk of the person you trust becoming slightly less trustworthy when essentially gifted with a house.

However, if the facts are as you state them, while of course one can sue anybody for nearly anything, generally speaking that person would actually have to win to be able to touch your house or other assets. If everything you have asserted about this individual is true, it seems that there should be little basis for them to prevail should they choose to sue you.

All that said, your best resource to put your mind at ease is your employment attorney, and I would urge you to discuss this concern with them.

Recommended reading

Tom Patire's Personal Protection Handbook : Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself, Your Family, and Your Assets Safe

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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