All identifying information has been removed and/or changed in the below case study to protect the identity of my client.
Al is a orthopaedic surgeon in the midwest. A few years into his career, Al hired a local lawyer to create his asset protection plan. Much later in life, Al owned several surgical centers, which were used by a large number of surgical physicians. Somewhere along the way, a surgeon using one of the facilities committed malpractice. Both the surgeon and Al were implicated in the judgment for damages, which exceeded $7 million.
This is the point at which Al sought my counsel. The only reason I was able to help Al is that his asset protection plan had been created well before the malpractice incident occurred.
Al’s existing plan was far from perfect and left Al exposed in a number of significant ways. The main problem with his planning was that it had been improperly funded, since some of the assets that had been deemed responsible for the malpractice were also inside Al’s asset protection plan.
Nonetheless, I was able to help Al segregate some of his assets – several million dollars worth – and ship those assets offshore, where they could not be reached by the malpractice plaintiff. To date, those assets remain available for Al’s support, use, and enjoyment.
The first moral of this case study is that I could only help Al because he had an existing asset protection plan. If he had come to me with no plan, I would have turned him away. The second moral is that you need to create planning with someone who really understands asset protection law. Al originally paid another lawyer way more than what I typically charge, and his planning was not done correctly. That meant I had to be very creative in order to help Al protect himself after a lawsuit had been filed, which was an expensive process. Had I created Al’s original asset protection plan, he would have spent far less in total fees to gain much more comprehensive lawsuit protection for doctors.