Every day, there are more than 70,000 civil lawsuits filed in the United States. Many of these lawsuits target small business owners, physicians, real estate investors, and other high-net-worth individuals who have deep pockets and can afford to pay a settlement to make the case go away. If filing a lawsuit presents an opportunity to make some easy money (especially when plaintiffs’ lawyers take cases on a contingency-fee-basis so there is no financial risk involved for the claimant), you can be almost certain that the lawsuit is going to be filed.
This makes asset protection planning essential for anyone who has a lot to lose. Asset protection planning involves the use of legal entities, trusts, and other tools and strategies to minimize financial exposure in the event of a civil judgment or other substantial liability. When done properly, asset protection planning not only limits the assets you have at risk, but it also reduces the incentive for would-be plaintiffs to initiate litigation. Our business attorneys generally recommend asset protection for:
It is important to remember that lawsuits will not necessarily arise out of your business or practice. Auto accidents, premises liability claims, and even dog bites can all lead to substantial liability for high-net-worth individuals and families. If you have assets that are worth protecting, regardless of your stage in life, we encourage you to contact a Sugar Land asset protection lawyer to help you put a protection strategy in place.
While some asset protection tools (such as certain types of irrevocable trusts) can limit the grantor’s access to his or her assets, other tools provide much greater flexibility. When developing your asset protection strategy, understanding what you may need for yourself and what you want to protect for future generations will help inform the specific types of protection tools we will use.
The list of reasons why business owners, professionals, and investors can (and do) get sued is almost endless. That said, some of the most common lawsuits and liabilities for high-net-worth individuals include:
At Romano & Sumner, we use a variety of asset protection tools, and we tailor each client’s strategy to his or her personal circumstances. No two asset protection strategies are exactly alike, and the tools we recommend for you will depend on a variety of factors relating to your business or profession, your risk profile, your accumulated wealth, and your estate plan. Generally speaking, however, the types of tools we use and recommend include:
While insurance can help limit your personal exposure, it does not provide absolute protection. Plaintiffs’ lawyers routinely claim damages above and beyond the defendant’s insurance limits, and there are certain types of liabilities (such as personal guarantees) that will not be covered by your insurance policies.
What is the likelihood of getting sued? Most of the 70,000 civil lawsuits filed every day in America target small business owners and medical professionals. Lawsuits against small businesses, professionals, and others presumed to have deep pockets have become more numerous in recent years as people lose their jobs, homes, and other assets that require cash payments.
Often people see professionals and business owners as “insurance” for success. Business men and women are expected to provide the perfect product, and professionals are expected to provide a perfect outcome. When expectations meet reality it results in negligence claims, errors and omissions claims, malpractice lawsuits, punitive damage claims, and judgments.
You are permitted by law to build a defense against the seizure of your personal and business assets by creditors. However, if you do not build that defense, then the law permits those creditors to seize your property. Our Sugar Land dedicated asset protection lawyers at Romano Sumner can answer any questions you have and help you protect what belongs to you.
The main goal is to avoid the loss of assets through litigation. Asset protection accomplishes this goal by:
In today’s difficult economic times, hiring an asset protection planning lawyer is especially important for:
With sound professional guidance, high-risk professionals and business people can implement defenses against future lawsuits. By working within the system, and taking advantage of specific legal and financial techniques, you can protect your hard-earned assets and future earnings. However, these techniques only work if you put them in place ahead of time. Once a lawsuit has been filed, even if it is reasonably anticipated, it is already too late.
If you are ready to discuss your strategy, contact the Sugar Land asset protection lawyers at the law offices of Romano & Sumner. To schedule a confidential initial consultation, call us or request an appointment online today.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC