It is commonly understood that we live in a country that believes in litigation to resolve most disputes. For that reason, the more assets you have, certainly the more you have to lose. Only those with no income or assets can be “judgment proof. If you have worked diligently to build a business or accumulate wealth for your family, then you stand to lose a substantial amount if you are ever sued. That is why you need an asset protection lawyer to help you put sufficient asset protection strategies in place.
Who is at most risk for loss of assets?
One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself, your family or your business is to have an asset protection plan. An experienced asset protection lawyer can describe all of your choices. But, before you determine what you may need, you should understand who is the most at risk.
Business owners are at risk of judgments
Litigation is typically a part of doing business in this day and age. Legal claims can arise from so many different areas of business, such as product liability claims, trademark infringement claims, employment discrimination claims, work-related vehicle accidents, and other work-related injuries. For this reason, every business should have comprehensive asset protection strategies in place.
Business owners should also keep personal assets separate
Business owners would be wise to keep all of their personal assets separate from their business assets. Put another way, never commingle your personal funds with your business funds. This is true regardless of what type of business entity you have. While there are specific business entities created with the specific purpose of protecting the personal assets of the owner, if those assets are not kept separate, then that protection will likely be lost.
Certain professions are more at risk of legal claims
The reality is, there are specific professions that are more prone to being sued for their professional conduct. For example, doctors, lawyers, and architects are possibly the most at risk and, therefore, need advanced asset protection strategies. Those strategies need to include insulating personal assets from judgments that relate directly to their professional liabilities.
Property owners are at risk for injuries that occur on their property
Whether you are a home owner, or the owner of rental or commercial properties, there will always be the possibility for liability claims for injuries occurring on your property. Those claims will put your assets at risk. An experienced asset protection lawyer can help you create the best strategies for minimizing those risks.
Parents of teenagers may also be at an increased risk of liability
Recognizing the fact that teenage drivers often account for more traffic accidents than others, if you are the parent of one, you need to know the potential risks. Regardless of your efforts to monitor you teens and their driving habits, the reality is that the risk of liability for accidents is statistically higher with teen drivers. For this reason, you should consider obtaining additional asset protection with the help of an asset protection lawyer.
Why an asset protection plan is important
Asset protection basically involves analyzing your assets and arranging them so that you can provide the most protection against loss possible. If you engage in asset protection properly, with the help of an asset protection lawyer, the process is completely legal. In fact, you can effectively protect all of your assets from unexpected risk of loss, without any type of fraud or tax evasion. Without protection, though, you could leave much less behind for your family than you intended, simply because the creditors must be paid first.
Asset protection planning is quite legal
A common misconception that many clients have is that asset protection planning involves under-the-table transactions meant to evade and deceive. That is not the case. We all have the option of structuring our assets in a manner that is financially beneficial to us, as long as it is done within the limits of the law. In reality, the only time fraud becomes an issue is when the obvious purpose of the asset protection plan is to hinder, delay or defraud creditors from collecting valid debts. This can be avoided by creating your asset protection plan before the creditors’ claims arise.
How to protect your assets from the beginning
When it comes to easy and comprehensive asset protection, a trust is a good choice. How does a trust provide asset protection? Essentially, when you transfer your assets to the trust, they become the property of the trust and are removed from your estate. That means, they are beyond the reach of anyone with a claim against you. They are also no longer subject to estate taxes. There are numerous types of trusts and they are all customizable, so you should go over your options with your asset protection lawyer.
Join us for a FREE seminar today! If you have questions regarding asset protection, or any other estate planning needs, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys Schomer Law Group for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (310) 337-7696.