What is a DAPT?
Also known as a United States Asset Protection Trust, a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT) is a self-settled trust that can be used to protect assets from litigation in some states. Any kind of asset protection trust is a legal document that allows a third-party trustee to hold items of value and keep them away from judgment creditors.
Prior to recent changes in statutory provisions, it was more common for our clients to use foreign asset protection trusts, but the domestic trust is gaining wider appeal. Currently available in 17 states, a DAPT typically has the following requirements and characteristics:
- The trust settlor may not act as the trustee
- One of the trustees must be a resident of the state where the trust is established
- It must be an irrevocable trust with a spendthrift clause
- The assets going into the trust came from one of the permissible beneficiaries of the trust
- Most of the trust’s administration must take place in the state where it is established
Seventeen states now allow for self-settled Domestic Asset Protection Trusts. Those states are Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Domestic Asset Protection Trust Laws
The assets in a domestic asset protection trust will be governed by the participating state’s DAPT laws regarding a statute of limitations. In this case, the statute of limitations dictates the length of time in which the trust’s assets are protected from a settlor’s creditors, and a variance is related to the way each state defines the classes of certain creditors. For example, in some states an “exception creditor” might include alimony claims or child support
Who is eligible for a DAPT?
The idea behind a DAPT, or any asset protection trust, is to shelter an individual’s assets from the claims of a future creditor. While only seventeen states currently have enacted protective legislation surrounding DAPTs, residents of non-DAPT states may also take advantage of these laws. For example, when establishing a new domestic asset protection trust, the settlor has the option to designate the state laws which will govern the trust, even if that state is not their home state. In order to facilitate such a trust, the settlor would need to take the appropriate legal steps to ensure the governing law is respected in the state of jurisdiction.
At Dilendorf Law Firm, our legal professionals will help you with the critical first step of selecting the jurisdiction that works best for your needs. This should only be done after speaking with one of our qualified asset protection experts.
Setting up a DAPT will also require the following steps.
- Establish an irrevocable trust and find an experienced independent trustee who resides in the state of jurisdiction.
- The trustee will transfer the assets and make deposits in your DAPT state, which is where your real property must be held.
- The trustee will act with complete discretion with regard to trust distributions to the settlor and ensure that the settlor holds no interest in the assets of the trust.
- An asset protection planner will help you understand the taxation requirements that apply to non-resident trust settlors using the laws of the DAPT state.
Including a DAPT as part of a comprehensive asset protection strategy is a great way to spread out your assets into multiple fronts. The costs of pursuing your assets in multiple jurisdictions is a strong deterrent for predatory and/or frivolous lawsuits, making you a difficult target for judgments.
Alaska Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Delaware Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Nevada Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Wyoming Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Dilendorf Law Firm
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The attorneys of Dilendorf Law Firm use their expertise to help clients protect assets from potential litigation using a variety of strategies, one of which is a Domestic Asset Protection Trust, or DAPT.