What Is Asset Protection Planning?
Asset Protection Planning or Risk Management Planning has been practiced by attorneys, financial advisors, accountants and other professionals for several decades. Many individuals have concern about the exposure of their personal assets to claims of third parties. The corporate form of business entity with the shield of limited liability has been used for centuries. Over the last few decades expanding theories of liability and the proliferation of litigation has increased the importance of Asset Protection Planning and it is recently become a recognized area of the law. Our systematic tiered approach will protect assets by created liability shielded entities and lowering financial profiles.
Why The Increased Exposure?
It is unfortunate, but true: We live in a highly litigious society and people today seem to sue one another over just about anything. Worse, you never really know what a jury might decide, regardless of how frivolous a lawsuit may appear. The deck is stacked against you:
- Plaintiffs lawyers have made huge contingency fees on malpractice and class action lawsuits. Obviously the financial reward drives this kind of legal action.
- The deep pocket theory where those who are "have nots" want a piece of the assets of those "who have.".
- We live in a victim oriented society where everyone tries to place blame with a financial remuneration attached to it on someone who has the financial resources to pay.
Even some of the people you love the most may need protection from themselves, such as those who suffer from drug or alcohol dependency, or who lack the maturity to handle a large inheritance on their own. All of this helps explain why Asset Protection Planning is such a rapidly growing area of the law and why it is so important for you to have a plan expertly tailored to your specific needs - particularly if you are a physician, attorney, CPA, business owner, real estate developer, or member of a profession that is subject to an unusually high number of lawsuits.
How Do I Protect Myself?
At Layman, D'Atri & Associates, we provide the guidance that individuals, families and owners of closely-held companies require to understand the risks they face. We then design creative asset protection plans to guard against potential liabilities. We have developed a systematic approach to addressing all the legal and tax concerns of Business Owners, Physicians, Professionals and Real Estate Investors. With years of experience in all areas of asset protection law, and an extensive network of leading financial professionals world-wide, we are particularly skilled at establishing and managing the techniques and strategies necessary to protect your hard earned assets and legacy:
- Offshore and domestic business entity formation
- Domestic trusts designed to safeguard assets from predators
- Offshore trusts, placing your assets beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. Courts and out of harm's way
- Equity stripping and asset isolation strategies to minimize the risks posed by potential predators and which ensure your privacy
If someone tells you they can implement a bullet proof asset protection plan, RUN away as fast as you can. The tools and strategies that we implement are intended to significantly improve your protection but unfortunately there is no bullet proof strategy.
I have a Trust. Aren't My Assets Protected?
Many estate plans include revocable living trusts ("RLT's"). RLT's are great for avoiding probate, minimizing exposure to estate taxes and distributing your estate, but RLT's do NOT protect your assets from your creditors. Many people mistakenly believe that just having a trust is enough. Unfortunately, they will be very sorry if a creditor obtains a judgment. Your creditor will have the same access to your assets that you do. Therefore, more advanced planning is necessary to protect your assets.