Domestic Asset Protection
Protecting one’s assets through means inside the United States is referred to as Domestic Asset Protection. There are a number of Domestic Asset Protection tools through which you can achieve financial protection and lawsuit proof your assets.
Below we will discuss some of the more common Domestic Asset Protection strategies and how these tools can help you achieve better financial security.
One goal of Asset Protection is to “own nothing but control everything.” We do this by utilizing legal tools to structure an Asset Protection plan which fits your unique situation and provides you with security and leverage against potential litigants.
Using the correct business entity to hold and manage your assets is one of the first things to look at. Transferring your personal ownership rights is a crucial step in protecting yourself. We do that by utilizing different types of domestic tools such as corporations, LLCs, LPs, LLPs, Trusts, Equity stripping, and financial exemptions.
Domestic Asset Protection Structures
You want to use Limited Liability Companies when protecting liability producing assets such as businesses, real estate, boats, cars, golf carts, and any other risky assets. LLCs are a versatile tool for Asset Protection planning.
You would want to use Limited Partnerships to secure non-liability producing assets such as cash, stock investments, money market accounts, interest in a business, etc. Be sure that you structure your LP in a way which gives you the least liability and the most control.
Trusts can offer an additional layer of Asset Protection as well as integrated Estate Planning. Different trusts offer different benefits or advantages. Before creating a trust, you should compare the differences with your Asset Protection Attorney and Estate Planning Attorney.
Equity stripping is a tool we utilize to remove vulnerable equity from your assets. By stripping the asset of its value, you become a much less appealing target for frivolous lawsuits. There are a few ways to equity strip, but one of the most common ways to do that is to leverage additional mortgages or liens on your property or assets. If the asset is worth $300,000 and you have $290,000 tied up in loans and liens, the available equity is not worth a contingency lawyer's time to pursue a frivolous lawsuit.
What is a Financial Planning Exemption?
Financial Planning Exemptions can offer another layer of protection by transferring exposed assets into assets that are exempt from creditors. Each state offers different exemptions for different assets. Find a list of what is exempt in your state here.
There are numerous ways to protect your assets domestically, but the key is protecting your assets proactively. You don’t get car insurance after the car accident, and likewise you shouldn’t seek to protect your assets once you’ve had a lawsuit filed against you. Protect yourself before you have a problem.
Yes, You Can Lose Everything!
You may think that your wealth is safe and that you don't need protection. But don't delude yourself and accept reality — For every 60 minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to protect it!