We live in a litigious society. As a matter of fact, America files more lawsuits than any other place in the world. As much as we would like to think that all (or at least most) of these lawsuits are about justice, the truth is that very often they are about money. In fact, quite often one of the main objectives in any lawsuit is to get as much money as possible.
To achieve this objective, the attorney for the plaintiff will typically search for a defendant who can pay, or a defendant with ‘deep pockets’; and the person with deep pockets is often the target, even if another party is actually responsible. If one individual or company has more assets than another, even if they have less guilt in the matter, they will often be the primary defendants of the lawsuit.
Because of this, many business owners are experiencing an increased risk associated with doing business; and protecting yourself—and your family as well as your business—with a well thought out, personalized asset protection plan is essential.
One strategy to consider is a privacy plan or trust. A privacy trust can help to shield individuals from becoming the target of deep pockets litigation. Privacy plans are designed to achieve financial privacy, a legitimate concern for many people. A successful privacy plan can conceal ownership of bank and brokerage accounts, the family home, rental properties and interests in business entities, adding a level of confidentiality to your personal affairs.
There are also several forms of corporations or limited liability companies to consider, as well as offshore accounts or businesses. . . But your business is not the only thing at risk. Attorneys in a lawsuit will often look for ways to ‘pierce the corporate veil’ of corporations intended to provide asset protection for their owners, leaving personal assets at risk as well. It is wise to work with your attorney to design a plan to equally protect both your business and your personal assets.
A personalized asset protection plan may include some or all of the following strategies, in a combinations that best suits your personal needs:
* Asset separation
* Privacy plans
* Use of limited liability companies or family limited partnerships
* Family trusts
* Transfer of title to the family member least likely to be sued
* Offshore corporations
* Offshore trusts
* Umbrella insurance policies
Anyone with personal assets, real property, or a business can be the target of a deep pockets lawsuit. Our firm can advise you in the best combination of strategies for your personal and business needs to protect you from risk.
If you have not set up a personal asset plan for yourself, or would like to explore additional strategies to protect yourself and your family from unnecessary lawsuits, please contact us for an initial meeting.