Simple Free Asset Protection Tips
Not everybody can afford a sophisticated asset protection plan: however, everybody can take some commonsense steps to better protect their hard earned wealth. This page categorizes some of these simple techniques:
Divide and Conquer
Always use a separate entity for each liability generating asset and never mix liability generating assets. For example, an apartment house should not be owned by the same entity which owns a printing business.
Get Good Advice
Get a local lawyer (much like a “family” doctor). Pay for some advice every time you make an important move. It is money well spent. By the way, the market is flooded with well trained and underutilized lawyers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate fees.
Avoid General Partnerships
Avoid general partnerships and handshake agreements. This only causes trouble. Did you know that any general partner can commit the partnership (and hence every other general partner) to any legal contract (like taking out a loan). All general partners are jointly and severally liable.
Assume That Most “Asset Protection Experts” Are Unqualified… Because They Are
Please read our traps and scams page. Always check references and avoid the professional “seminar givers.” Never assume that “charging order protection” is enough, never trust anybody who asks you to trust anybody else with your money and never trust anybody who promises to save you income taxes.
Don’t show off and don’t put everything in your name. If people think that you are rich you will be sued. If you are unwilling to have a modest lifestyle (and many of us are not willing) then keep a low a profile as possible and don’t title your assets directly in your own name. Remember, to take your assets they first have to be found. Also remember that a good asset protection plan does not rely on stealth. It should work even if every single document is discovered.
Each State is Different
Remember, what a creditor can get is often controlled by state law. Get good advice and you may be able to keep assets even when faced with serious creditor attack. For example, some states have liberal homestead laws and some states accord greater protection to pension plan type accounts than other states.
No Country Automatically Recognizes US Judgments
Remember, no country in the world automatically recognizes U.S. based judgments. In fact, most countries think that our tort laws, securities laws and anti-trust laws are nonsensical. Also, no country in the world recognizes US tax judgments.
Never Ignore a Lawsuit
If you are served always get good advice.
Even if you effect a state of the art asset protection plan you still should keep adequate insurance. Often the main value of a good policy is that the insurance company must provide you a defense.