Orlando Asset Protection Planning Attorneys/Lawyers
Many of our clients tell us that they do not want their wealth to be used to support their daughter-in-law's next husband. Nor do they want their family-owned business to be taken away in a lawsuit resulting from a car accident. Rental property and vacation homes are another cause for concern—if your children's friends visit your beach house, and someone slips, do you want your personal brokerage account seized?
We help you title your assets to make it easier for a creditor to settle than sue. We help you become unattractive to a predator. We help you make it much easier for them to go away rather than hang around making your life miserable.
Let's discuss for a moment the concept of "inside liability" versus "outside liability". An "outside liability" is an act that occurs outside of an entity that offers asset protection. If you are at fault in a car accident using your personal automobile, running a personal errand, for example—that would be considered an outside liability. You will be sued, and any assets that you own personally that your creditor may attach in a lawsuit are up for grabs. Our goal is to help you title your assets to make them difficult for your creditor to attach in a lawsuit.
An "inside liability" is an act that occurs within an entity, and for which the entity gets sued. If you own stock in a corporation, and the corporation owns a factory that builds widgets, and a customer injured himself on a widget and sues the corporation, that is an inside liability. As a result of an inside liability, a successful injured party can take anything the corporation owns. However, the injured party probably could not come after you, as a stockholder, and take your personal bank account or other assets that are yours and are not owned by the corporation.
Our goal is to help you thoughtfully create entities to hold wealth, and limit the amount to which the creditor is entitled from an inside liability. In this case, the creditor could take the corporate bank account, the factory, the land on which the factory sits, the factory equipment, the accounts receivable, and anything else the corporation owns. To maximize asset protection, we likely would advise you to wrap as many assets as you can in separate entities. We would have preferred, for example, that the land be held in one entity, the factory in a second, and the manufacturing operations in a third. Then a future creditor injured by a widget may not get the factory or the land.
Asset protection is not something that may be accomplished during a crisis. If you already have been sued, there is not a lot that you may do to avoid liability. If you have already been party to a wrongful act, even if you have not been sued yet (and may never be sued), there is a limit to the actions you may take to avoid liability. If nothing has happened, and there is not a sniff or a hint of impropriety going on, there are many actions we may advise you to take to help you avoid future creditors or predators.
Asset protection also is not a one-time effort. Most asset protection involves continuous maintenance to keep the wall between your assets and your creditors strong. For example, each entity should have its own checkbook and keep its financial life separate. Your corporation should have meeting minutes to document regular corporate decisions, and annual meeting minutes to document the annual meeting of shareholders that you have each year. Are you not actually holding your corporate annual meeting as required in your bylaws? If you do not respect your entity, why should a judge who is overseeing the lawsuit against you?
Ideal asset protection does not mean that you will never get sued. It means that your creditor (or your creditor's lawyer) recognizes right away that it will be much easier and more lucrative for your creditor to settle now for whatever insurance money or settlement cash you are offering than to file a lawsuit or go to trial. That's what you want. You want a creditor or predator to go away this instant, without a court fight. Asset protection planning allows us to help you provide your loved ones with a heightened sense of security and comfort.