Unprotected assets can be lost very quickly...
Asset Protection Strategies
Just like many people, you have potentially worried about the security of your assets from creditors and other people that know that you have a large amount of assets, whether you own a business that generates a large amount of wealth, you have inherited a substantial amount of wealth or have worked to accumulate wealth. Let’s face it, people are more willing to file a lawsuit against a wealthier individual than those that lack a large pool of assets. Certain laws may protect some of your assets, and there are several strategies for helping to protect assets.
Most Utilized Strategies
- Increase the amount of liability insurance that you carry
- Keep assets in separate accounts
- Develop asset protection trusts
- Create a Family Limited Partnership
Increasing the Amount of Liability Insurance that You Carry
The first line of defense in litigation is typically insurance because it handles the vast majority of dilemmas that people may find themselves in. If you carry a proportional amount of insurance to the assets that you have, assets can be saved in the event of litigation. For example, if you are going to be inheriting $10,000,000 from a relative then it is recommended that you carry a minimum of $10,000,000 in an umbrella liability policy, monthly premiums are relatively inexpensive at around $200 to $300 per $1,000,000 of coverage.
Keeping Assets in Separate Accounts
It could be advisable to hold a joint account for expenses that are paid for as a couple but have at least some assets that are kept separate just in case the unthinkable happens. Another advantage to keeping assets in separate accounts is, to have a vast array of accounts, making it difficult for litigators to track.
Develop Asset Protection Trusts
For several years, wealthy individuals used offshore trusts in locations that many people would not think of, such as the Cook Islands and Nevis. The trusts can be relatively expensive to establish and maintain. There are several local states that now offer asset protection trusts and you do not have to be a resident of the state to establish one. These trusts work by transferring a portion of assets into a trust that is operated by an independent trustee and allow the assets to be out of the reach of most creditors. There are several requirements for an asset protection trust including that; they must be irrevocable, trustee must be licensed in the state that the trust is held, only will allow for distributions at the trustee’s discretion, must entail a spendthrift clause, and some of the assets and documents must be held in the state. These are somewhat complicated, and it would be recommended to work with an attorney that may have more field experience with asset protection trusts.
Create a Family Limited Partnership
Family Limited Partnerships are advantageous in protecting wealth because assets are exchanged for shares in the partnership making it difficult for the assets to be compromised. The Uniform Limited Partnership Act helps protect these assets from creditors. There is no market for the shares received, which makes their value significantly less than the value of the exchanged asset.
These are a few strategies to help protect your assets. It would be advisable to consult with your CPA/Attorney on which strategies make the most sense for you.
Insurance as Your First Line of Defense. (n.d.). Retrieved from LegaLees: https://legalees.com/insurance-first-line-defense/
Lambert, G. (2018, October 9). How to Protect Your Assets from a Lawsuit or Creditors. Retrieved from Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/07/buildawall.asp
Pagliarini, R. (2013, October 09). 6 Asset Protection Strategies to Shield your Wealth. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpagliarini/2013/10/09/6-asset-protection-strategies-to-shield-your-wealth/#6d35e8fb199a
Weston, L. (2018, February 23). You're Married, but your assets do not have to be. Retrieved from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/lifestages/2018/02/23/youre-married-but-your-assets-dont-have-to-be/110451400/