Asset Protection Strategies
Our Lawyers Help High-Net-Worth Clients Implement Effective Asset Protection Strategies
Implementing an effective asset protection strategy is essential for high-net-worth individuals and couples. Without an effective strategy in place, your assets are at risk, and you could lose everything you have worked so hard to obtain if something goes wrong.
At Oberheiden P.C., we help our clients implement effective asset protection strategies. We use a variety of legal tools to protect our clients’ assets, and we give our clients the advice they need to make informed decisions about preserving their wealth. Protecting your (or your family’s) assets is an investment in your future, and it is an investment that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
7 Examples of Asset Protection Strategies
Within our asset protection practice, we use a variety of different strategies to help preserve our clients’ wealth. We take a highly customized approach to asset protection, tailoring all of our strategy recommendations to our clients’ specific risks, goals, and needs. With this in mind, some examples of our asset protection strategies include:
1. Forming and Properly Managing a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Limited liability companies (LLCs) can be highly effective as asset protection tools. With a properly formed and managed LLC, the company’s owners are shielded from liability; and, in the event of a judgment against the company, only the company’s assets are at risk. By only placing the assets that are necessary to the company’s operations into the LLC, owners can minimize their exposure while also deterring lawsuits from creditors and plaintiffs’ lawyers who are less likely to pursue litigation knowing that the potential upside is minimal.
2. Forming an Asset Protection Trust
Forming an asset protection trust is also a highly effective strategy for shielding personal and real property from potential claims and litigation. Similar to an LLC, a trust is a separate legal entity from its owners. As a result, in the event that you get sued while you have an asset protection trust in place, the trust’s assets will not be at risk. With a properly-formed asset protection trust, the trust’s owners retain full control over (and use of) the assets held by the trust, but the trust structure provides protection from personal, commercial, and judgment creditors.
3. Taking Advantage of Other Legal Structures and Protections
Along with LLCs and asset protection trusts, high-net-worth individuals and couples can take advantage of a variety of other legal structures and benefits as well. For example, owning real estate as “tenants by the entirety” (rather than “joint tenants”) limits creditors’ access to the property. Similarly, in states that have homestead exemptions, taking advantage of these exemptions provides both strong protection and deterrence. There are many other examples as well; and, at Oberheiden P.C., we rely on our extensive experience to help our clients take advantage of all options they have available.
4. Combining LLCs, Trusts, and Other Legal Structures and Protections
For most of our clients, protecting their assets involves implementing a combination of LLCs, trusts, and other legal structures. Doing so provides multiple layers of protection while also expanding the coverage of our clients’ asset protection strategies. For example, we may recommend that a client form an LLC and name a trust as the company’s owner. Or, we may recommend that a client take advantage of a homestead exemption for their primary residence while placing their investment properties into a trust or LLC (or a trust-LLC combination). In all cases, our goal is to help our clients secure maximum protection as simply and efficiently as possible.
5. Obtaining Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is a critical and cost-effective—yet often overlooked—asset protection tool for both individuals and businesses. There are several forms of individual and commercial liability insurance, and ensuring that you have procured the necessary coverages with adequate policy limits is essential for effective asset protection and risk management. Our lawyers can help you determine which types of coverage to obtain, and we can ensure that your (or your company’s) policies do not contain exemptions or exclusions that frustrate the purpose of obtaining coverage.
6. Focusing on Compliance and Proactive Risk Management
Along with using asset protection tools, taking steps to ensure compliance and minimize your risk can also reduce your (or your company’s) overall liability exposure. For individuals, this means taking steps such as ensuring tax law compliance, understanding your professional obligations and risks, and being proactive to avoid potential litigation (i.e., premises liability claims or allegations of insider trading). For companies, this means being proactive as well, and using contracts to shift liability while ensuring proper implantation of all necessary compliance policies, procedures, and incident response protocols.
7. Offshore Asset Protection Planning
Moving assets offshore can be a highly effective asset protection strategy as well. When moved offshore the right way, assets can fall beyond creditors’ reach. There are several important legal considerations involved with offshore asset protection planning, so engaging experienced counsel is critical. At Oberheiden P.C., we have the experience needed to advise clients on offshore asset protection planning while also helping our clients implement custom-tailored domestic asset protection strategies.
How We Will Develop Your Asset Protection Strategy
When you choose Oberheiden P.C. for asset protection, you will work with one of our senior asset protection lawyers one-on-one. You will meet with your lawyer to discuss your liability-related concerns, and then your lawyer will begin formulating recommendations for your review. You will remain actively involved throughout the process, and your lawyer will ensure that you are making informed decisions with a clear understanding of what is necessary and why.
Our process for developing custom-tailored asset protection strategies involves:
- A One-on-One Strategy Session – Our process starts with a one-on-one strategy session focused on gaining an understanding of the universe of assets you need to protect as well as the risks you need to protect against.
- Custom-Tailored Strategy Recommendations – Based on a thorough assessment of your needs and opportunities, we will develop custom-tailored asset protection strategy recommendations.
- Finalizing Your Asset Protection Strategy – Once you decide how to move forward (with your lawyer’s help), we will finalize your asset protection strategy.
- Asset Protection Strategy Implementation and Execution – With your strategy determined, it is time to execute. At this point, our lawyers will take all of the steps necessary (i.e., forming LLCs and trusts, and restructuring ownership of your real property or businesses) to implement the tools and tactics we have discussed.
- Ongoing Consulting and Advice – Asset protection is an ongoing process. Once your strategy is in place, we will continue to advise you regarding new risks and additional steps you may need to take to protect your assets long-term. We provide asset protection investigation services as well.
FAQs: Implementing an Asset Protection Strategy
Who needs an asset protection strategy?
Anyone who has substantial assets should consider implementing an asset protection strategy. This includes business owners, professionals, investors, and other high-net-worth individuals. High-net-worth individuals can face a variety of financial risks, and implementing a comprehensive asset protection strategy minimizes these risks to the fullest extent possible.
What is involved in implementing an asset protection strategy?
The steps involved in implementing an asset protection strategy depend on an individual’s or couple’s specific risks and needs. At Oberheiden P.C., we work closely with our clients to develop comprehensive asset protection strategies that are custom-tailored to their individual circumstances. We assess our clients’ future risks and needs as well, and we specifically develop our strategies with an eye toward maintaining the flexibility needed to make changes as our clients’ circumstances evolve.
What strategies can (and should) I use to protect my assets?
Just as the steps involved in implementing an asset protection strategy vary, the specific strategies that high-net-worth individuals and couples will need to implement vary as well. Here, too, we provide custom-tailored advice, and we ensure that all of our clients’ strategies are suited to their specific assets and risks.
What are the risks of not having an asset protection strategy?
The risks of not having an asset protection strategy are substantial. Without an asset protection strategy in place, creditors (including judgment creditors in personal injury or wrongful death litigation) can seek to collect from your personal estate. In the event of a substantial judgment, this could mean paying millions of dollars, going into bankruptcy, and even losing your home.
When is it too late to implement asset protection?
While it can be too late to protect your assets from specific liability risks in some circumstances (i.e., if you already have a judgment pending against you), it is never too late to protect your assets from future risks. If you have assets that you don’t want to lose, you should discuss implementing an asset protection strategy with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Asset Protection Strategy with a Senior Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
Do you have questions about implementing a custom-tailored asset protection strategy? If so, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a senior lawyer at Oberheiden P.C., please call 888-680-1745 or request an appointment online today.