Asset protection is an area of the law that is often closely associated with estate planning, although they are certainly not the same thing. Estate planning has a very different goal in mind than asset protection planning. Estate planning is the process of arranging your assets in a way that if you become disabled or you pass away, your wealth will be used and distributed according to your wishes.
Asset protection planning, on the other hand, is the process of arranging your assets in a way that if sometime down the road someone sues you, your assets will be protected to the greatest extent possible from a court order forcing you to turn them over to the plaintiff (the person or company who is suing you).
Although certain asset protection planning strategies can be very complicated and risky, there are other strategies that anyone can employ to ensure that a least a portion of their estate is "judgement-proof."