Are you a professional or business owner in the Florida Panhandle who is engaged in a line of work or business that has a high incidence of litigation? Do you worry about your exposure to lawsuits that could embroil you in a costly legal battle and may lead to the loss of most or all your assets? You need asset protection planning now before it’s too late.
In these financially troubled times, the appeal of litigation as a means of securing a financial windfall makes many successful professionals and entrepreneurs attractive targets for ambitious plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Compounding the problem is precedent set in courts nationwide of ever-expanding decisions against professionals and business owners that reward the victims via large jury awards under theories that “punish” those with substantial assets as a means of compensating the victims for their losses.
Given the current climate and the growing number of aggressive plaintiffs’ attorneys, the number of lawsuits being filed is staggering. Furthermore, it is hard to predict how a jury will rule even in the most seemingly frivolous lawsuit.
All these factors make having an organized system with which to protect your assets to the fullest extent of the law all the more important.
Asset protection is the legal structuring of a person’s assets and capital in such a way as to safeguard them from losing them to a third party by, for example, an unforeseen lawsuit or other legal claim or action, all while maintaining current use and enjoyment of the assets.
Some of the techniques and strategies we can use to protect your hard-earned assets and legacy include:
A well-designed asset protection plan will provide much greater peace of mind by mitigating the risks to which you and your family are exposed. However, legitimate asset protection is not a means to defraud creditors or to avoid your contractual responsibilities. Anyone who promises you that should be avoided like the plague. Remember the golden rule – if you can access your assets, any creditor with sufficient diligence can get at them too.
What asset protection planning does accomplish, however, is to give you a greater degree of control in managing these litigation risks by discouraging frivolous lawsuits and, in the event you are sued, provides you with a stronger bargaining position that may allow you to reach a much quicker and cheaper settlement than would otherwise be possible without this sort of planning.
Therefore, asset protection planning should be viewed as an essential, complementary part of your estate plan. In this environment, the need for a sound asset protection plan has never been greater.
Ask yourself this: What good is the most complete, carefully planned and drafted estate plan if you lose all or substantially most of your assets as a result of a frivolous lawsuit?