This asset protection article was written for the readers of The Florida Healthcare Law Firm newsletter. If you have questions about asset protection, please call The Florida Healthcare Law Firm at (888) 455- 7702 or call me, Michael Wayne Patton, directly at (850) 803-1166 . . . .
The New American Dream
There is a New American Dream spreading across the nation. Achieving this dream has nothing to do with education, hard work, ingenuity, or taking smart risks. No, the New American Dream is based on a sense of entitlement or a feeling that one is a victim, and the road to achieving this dream is paved with lawsuits.
If you are a medical professional, an entrepreneur, or a business owner with employees, you are at risk of being targeted in a lawsuit. The more successful you are, the higher your risk. So how can you protect assets from lawsuits?
Two Systems of Asset Protection
Like the tax code, there is a system of asset protection for the informed, and there is a different system for the uninformed. The informed system of asset protection begins by asking “Which of my assets are in need of protection?” and “What do I want out of my assets?”
To answer the first question, you need to do an analysis of your assets to determine (i) which ones are actually assets (i.e. which ones have enough equity to make them worth protecting), and (ii) which ones are not already protected as exempt assets (e.g. homesteads in Florida and Texas have automatic asset protection).
The second question–“What do I want out of my assets?”–might seem a little bit confusing, but most of my clients boil it down to a few things:
- Control of the assets. Ability to decide what, when, where, and how assets are used.
- Legacy, or the right to designate where assets go when you die.
- Leverage, or the ability to sell, transfer, or mortgage assets and turn them into cash today.
Notice that “legal title” isn’t on the list. Asset protection is about separating control and use of assets from legal title to the assets. That way, if you get sued personally, your assets are off limits, since the legal system can only take assets from you if you hold legal title. The legal system cannot take away your right to control and use assets.
The Key To Protecting Wealth
Asset Protection Trusts are designed to give you maximum use and control of your assets while separating legal title from your potential legal exposure. It is the ultimate form of diversification and wealth protection, and the good news is that your assets can, for the most part, stay right here in the United States and remain under your full control.
If you would like to learn more about setting up an asset protection strategy, please call me today at (850) 803-1166 or email me directly at Wayne [“at”] mwpatton.com. I normally charge $279 for a consultation and asset protection analysis, but if you mention that you found this article through the Florida Healthcare Law Firm newsletter, I’ll waive that fee and speak with you for free.