With the economic downturn, it t seems that people with wealth are looking more and more for complaint asset protection planning that will protect their assets from an increasingly desperate society looking for excuses to sue people and recover whatever they can.
The problem for most wealthy clients is that they are unaware of who to trust and what kinds of asset protection plans will work best for them.
Our last newsletter talked of the IRS probe into UBS and LGT’s offshore tax avoidance schemes. It’s amazing that so many affluent people will fall for the many asset protection scams in the marketplace. The UBS scam is especially troubling because the firm involved has credibility and therefore, the scheme had much more credibility. With this credibility, advisors also were taken in by the scheme and recommended it to clients which ultimately must have cost many advisors the business of several affluent clients who are now having to deal with IRS audits.
Proper asset protection is legal; does not counsel the client to “hide” money offshore; deters but does not prevent lawsuits, valid or otherwise; and protects their assets from all creditors.
Filing frivolous lawsuits is profitable: should you settle or fight?
Lately I have been reading several articles on lawsuits, the ease in filing, and whether or not to settle or fight. When people contact the APS™ with questions and concerns about asset protection they always mention that they want to protect their assets from lawsuits.
Asset protection may be a deterrent to lawsuits but it will not prevent a lawsuit. Good asset protection planning structures your plan so that if you are sued you are situated to lose as little as possible. The problem here is that even if you or your clients have done nothing wrong you and/or your clients still stand to lose money simply by fighting the battle.
Many plaintiffs file frivolous or weak suits because they know that the defendant would rather settle and pay something instead of going to trial and risk paying much more. This is a crap-shoot, but from a defendant’s perspective it is certainly better to pay a little than risk a large verdict.
To read some outrageous jury awards, click here.
With the economy the way it is now, people are doing whatever they can to try and get that extra dollar. If you or your clients have wealth or appear to have wealth, now is the time to become asset protected.
I took the time to address lawsuits and the need for asset protection because that seems to be the easiest way for a greedy attacker to get at your assets. Taxes and non-negligent creditors (long term care expenses, the stock market, etc) are limited in who and how your assets can be attacked (and with good planning exposure to taxes and other non-negligence creditors can mitigated)
My point is to bait you and get you to realize the need for and importance of asset protection. Many advisors claim to be asset protection experts but how does the public know who to trust and how can they find a reputable, knowledgeable asset protection planner? That is where the Asset Protection Society (APS™) comes in.
On the APS™ website the public can find asset protection planners in their area and with our Rating System they can view that planner’s level of asset protection knowledge. If you are an advisor who is interested in helping your current clients protect their assets from creditors or if you are looking to expand your client base and gain new clients seeking asset protection advice, you should consider joining the Asset Protection Society and taking the Certified Asset Protection Planner Course.
If you are not helping your clients protect their assets then someone else will. And, once you have taken the steps to become a CAPP™ you will be light years ahead of your competitors, many of whom have never taken the time to educate themselves on this topic and will not know a large portion of the techniques you will learn.
The CAPP™ course benefits all advisors who practice in the asset protection field. If you are an attorney, you can benefit from the course because as you know, you are not taught asset protection in law school or by the state or national bar associations.
If you are an accountant, CPA, or EA you should know asset protection so that you can help your clients with asset protection and understand the structures that their attorneys and financial planners will implement.
If you are a financial planner you should know asset protection and take the CAPP™ course to learn how to protect cash value life insurance, annuities, and brokerage accounts from creditors Understanding the structures and techniques will enable you to work with your network of attorneys, accountants, CPAs, and/or EAs to properly complete your client’s asset protection plan. And, if you are an insurance agent learning asset protection can help you increase your client base and open up new areas of business for your current clients.
My point is that no matter what you kind of advisor you are you should know and understand asset protection and if you can create a network of advisors who have all had the proper education in asset protection and are members of the APS™ you will be involved in one of the most credible and trusted society of advisors in the country.
If you are not yet involved with the Asset Protection Society and would like to learn what we are all about you should consider coming to the APS 2nd annual Asset Protection Forum. You can read about the forum, see a list of speakers and topics to be covered.