THE COURT IS TAKING MY DOG? WHAT?!
Well, in most circumstances your common house pet would be safe from collections,
but did you know that anything that's convertible into money is an
asset, available to satisfy a creditor judgment? Thus, if your dog (or
any other pet/farm animal) was worth enough money on the resale market
and you didn't have any other assets to cover a judgment – they
could be declared as an asset, repossessed and sold in satisfaction of
your judgment. That sounds crazy but animals aren't the only type
of property that most people don't consider as assets.
For example, Intellectual Property is one
VERY important group of assets that should never be overlooked when lawsuit-proofing
Intellectual property is considered intangible assets and generally includes
copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets.
Intellectual property may also extend to webinars, websites, e-books,
business plans, software licenses, and any other type of document or business
structure created with a resale value. Just like your other assets such
as cash, bonds, real estate, equities and commodities – intellectual
property too must be protected in the event of a creditor threat.
If you are still wondering why you need Asset Protection– the answer
is simple. You need Asset Protection to ensure that your assets are safe
from creditors (especially those creditors who are not yet a threat),
lawyers, foreclosure deficiencies, former or current spouses, children,
relatives, and greedy lawsuit-obsessed citizens. Lawsuits happen every
single day, with many of them litigated over a frivolous issue where the
Plaintiff is just out to get money. If you protect your assets than you
are no longer a target. Put yourself in the best bargaining position by
Financial Self Defense!
Now that you understand why you need Asset Protection, the next question
becomes when do you need it? In implementing an Asset Protection plan,
procrastination could be your most fatal mistake. The courts explicitly
state that Asset Protection must be in place before a major judgment arises
– otherwise the courts may deem the protection in place as a fraudulent
transfer. Simply put, courts use this rule to safeguard against people
who "hide their assets" with ill intent. If you're one of
the many people in this country currently being attacked by lawsuits or
creditors, don't worry; there may still be a few options available
to you. With that being said, I want to emphasize that the
best protection, with the most options, isProactive Protection – acting before a threat occurs!
Here are some great tips on how to protect all of your assets; even those
assets you didn't think were considered assets.
Educate yourself. Learn about Asset Protection as much as you can – the more you know
the better you will understand the process.
Inventory your wealth. Most people have a lot more than they think. Take stock of valuable domain
names, telephone numbers, intellectual property, potential inheritances,
and other non-liquid assets.
Convert non-exempt assets into exempt assets. State laws protect some personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Those
assets typically include your primary residence; personal items such as
furniture and clothing; pensions and retirement funds; and life insurance.
Find out the exemptions for your state and convert non-exempt assets (i.e.
cash) into exempt assets (i.e. life insurance).
Take advantage of Homestead protection for your home, if your state law allows. Homestead protection protects your home from any threat of forced sale
by your creditors.
Protect every asset from every creditor. There's no point in protecting your money if your business is exposed.
There's no point in protecting your business if your house is exposed.
There's no point in protecting your house if your boat is exposed.
Protect everything! Your Asset Protection plan should hold up whether
your neighbor is suing you or the most powerful attorney downtown.
Don't rely solely on liability insurance. Buy as much insurance as you can; it's cheap and it helps you sleep
at night. But realize that 70 percent of claims are not covered. Your
coverage may be inadequate for a particular suit; your insurance company
may go bankrupt. Having insurance and an Asset Protection plan is the
belt and suspenders approach to hanging onto your pants.
Avoid fraudulent transfers. A fraudulent transfer occurs if your creditor doesn't get paid because
you sold an asset to a person or entity for less than its fair market
value when faced with a lawsuit. Such a transfer, done with the intent
to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor, can invalidate your entire Asset
Don't title your assets solely to your spouse or to "straw men." They may have more financial problems than you.
Protect your assets with liens. What is a $100,000 car worth if you owe $95,000? What is a $1 million
house worth if you owe $950,000? Take out lines of credit. Record mortgages
against your property. Make all of your assets valueless. Become an unattractive
candidate for a lawsuit.
Transfer your assets to a protective entity. The key to Asset Protection is to own nothing while controlling everything.
Transfer any non-exempt assets out of your name to protective entities
such as trusts, LLC's (limited liability companies), limited partnerships, etc.
For more educational and exciting information regarding Asset Protection
add yourself onto our complimentary monthly newsletter by sending an email to
info@AssetProtectionAttorneys.com and mentioning "Gitomer."
For a limited time only I am also offering complimentary copies of my latest
best selling books on Asset Protection. To request the books go to
www.AssetProtectionAttorneys.com and fill out the Contact Us form on the top right hand side of the page.