Newport Beach Asset Protection Attorney Notes Interesting Strategy: Adopt a Girlfriend

10:35 pm Asset Protection, Estate Planning

Confused man e1328135692826 Newport Beach Asset Protection Attorney Notes Interesting Strategy: Adopt a GirlfriendAs Newport Beach asset protection lawyers, we routinely recommend a number of ways our clients can legally protect their assets from creditors as well as lawsuits.  Here’s one we’ve never recommended:  adopting a girlfriend.

According to today’s Palm Beach Post, International Polo Club founder John Goodman has adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, as his legal daughter.  Goodman is currently being sued by the parents of a 23-year-old man for wrongful death in an accident where Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign while intoxicated, killing Scott Patrick Wilson in 2010.

Wilson’s attorneys say that Goodman devised the adoption strategy in order to shield his assets against the wrongful death claim.  The court had previously found that Goodman’s trust for his two biological children could not be considered part of his financial worth if a jury awarded damages in the wrongful death suit.  The adoption papers state that Hutchins is immediately entitled to at least one-third of the trust assets since she is over 35, and (now) his legal daughter.

In an order granting the Wilsons the right to information about the adoption, Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley wrote, “The events which serve as the grounds for the relief sought by the Plaintiffs border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone.”

Since the wrongful death suit was filed prior to the adoption, it will be interesting to see if it is nullified under the fraudulent conveyance law.  Fraudulent conveyances are conveyances made (or presumed to be made) with the intent to delay or defraud creditors. Usually, fraudulent conveyances are characterized by a lack of fair and valuable consideration and/or an attempt by debtors to place their assets beyond the reach of creditors.

Get started by contacting our Orange County asset protection estate planning law firm as soon as possible.

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