Asset ProtectionProtecting Your Family & Legacy
Asset Protection Attorneys in Madison
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The famous phrase “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” may have become somewhat of a cliché in some areas of life, but definitely not when it comes to asset protection. Simply put, asset protection can be defined as making a plan where you prepare for the worst-case scenario, in order to safeguard you, your company and related property, and any of your assets earned over many years of hard labor.
Technically, making the prudent and careful decision of asset protection can safeguard anyone’s personal assets, but this legal fortress is particularly key for any businesses and professionals whose careers place them at even higher risks.
Contact Our Madison Asset Protection Lawyers
At Estate Law Partners, LLC, we endeavor to provide you with superior support in every circumstance for your business and estate plans. Get our reliable asset protection lawyers in Madison to help you prepare for the worst while hoping for the best right now.
Call an asset protection lawyer near you at (608) 292-5185 to learn more about how to protect your assets and future.
What is Asset Protection Planning?
Asset protection planning is not about hiding or concealing assets. It is about using the existing laws appropriately to obtain the best possible level of protection for your assets – in other words, to make you a less desirable target for claimants.
Almost everyone knows someone who had a problem and lost everything. Claims can, for example, allege professional liability, responsibility for a car accident, or unpaid creditors. Whether meritorious or not, defense can be enormously costly. With our litigious society, with limited risk for those making liability claims, asset protection planning has become required for many and highly desirable for many more.
Below, we go over what asset protection is, the types of risk, when to plan, what to expect during the asset protection process, and the levels of planning involved.
When Should I Start Asset Protection Planning?
The best time to plan is before a claim arises. There are different rules that apply for known claimants and unknown future claimants. But even with an existing claim, and sometimes even after a judgment has been entered, some options may still be available. It is, however, vital to avoid making a “fraudulent” transfer; i.e., a transfer of assets with intent to defraud or hinder creditors that is made without full and adequate consideration.
Types of Risks
- Professional Liability - Physicians, dentists, other health care professionals, lawyers, accountants, and sometimes people whose business enterprises pertain to health care, such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, are frequent targets for claims. Those in construction (architects, builders, developers) also have professional liability concerns.
As a general rule, nobody can limit their own professional liability through a legal device. That’s why professionals carry malpractice insurance. But there are other areas of risk against which professionals can and should protect themselves.
- Professional and Personal Liabilities of a Partner - In a general partnership, each partner is liable for all claims arising out of partnership activities. Verbal partnerships are always general partnerships. Only in a limited partnership can the partners be protected from liability for the malpractice of the other partners. In a multi-owner entity in which an owner is married, protection may also be needed against a partner’s next spouse becoming an owner.
- Non-Professional Personal Liabilities - These include liabilities for business deals (for example real estate) that have gone bad and tort claims (such as for car wrecks). In any business there could be non-professional liability claims based on employment practices, alleged employment discrimination, and alleged sexual harassment, to name just a few.
- Other General Liabilities - Professionals and nonprofessionals alike are exposed to general liabilities that can cause their assets to be at risk. These include liability for unpaid income and estate taxes; the behavior of children and their spouses, which can lead to loss of family assets; co-signing a loan or mortgage with a relative or another who defaults or has a judgment filed against them; or a car wreck or other accident.
Contact Our Madison Asset Protection Lawyer
If you are concerned about protecting your assets in Madison, WI, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced asset protection lawyer. An asset protection lawyer near you can help you understand the laws and regulations surrounding asset protection and provide you with strategies to protect your assets from potential creditors or lawsuits.
Whether you need help with business asset protection, estate planning, or protection from potential legal action, an asset protection lawyer in Madison, WI can offer the necessary advice and representation. Don't wait until it's too late - contact Estate Law Partners, LLC to schedule a consultation and safeguard your assets for the future.
Call an asset protection attorney near you at (608) 292-5185 to learn more about how to protect your assets and future.
Did you know that some of your assets can be exempted from ever falling into the tight clutches of creditors? According to both federal and state laws, there are certain types of assets that you can keep safe when creditors come knocking.
However, it is crucial to recall that even though you can often select to be exempted by either federal or state qualifiers, there are distinct scenarios where you are required to only use state exemptions from bankruptcy, and federal options will not be allowed.
Since it can be somewhat complicated determining which circumstance applies to you, having our knowledgeable lawyers by your side can help you feel more informed in your decision. After we have helped you identify which assets are legally exempt, we can help increase your protection even further by transforming the assets that used to be non-exempt into new forms that would make them exempt assets.
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Because asset protection planning can include a variety of strategies, it is usually best accomplished by a team of advisors, which may include a CPA, estate planning attorney, financial advisor, insurance advisor and possibly retirement plan administrator. Any member of this advisor team may recognize that you need asset protection planning and recommend an evaluation, or you may have some concerns that you would like to address. Generally, the process takes at least three meetings to plan and implement.
Asset protection planning process:
- Initial Meeting - The advisors will gather basic financial information, determine your objectives and begin to establish a relationship with you. They will also set some reasonable expectations for how asset protection planning works, including how the laws work and what you can expect.
It is important that you are honest and forthright in providing the information requested. At the same time, because the very nature of asset protection planning can involve current worry about potential risk and/or litigation, it is important to determine early how much information you are willing to share and should share with various members of your advisory team. For example, it may be vital to preserve attorney/client privilege and not share litigious information with non-attorney advisors who could be subpoenaed later.
- Advisors Meeting - The advisor team will usually meet without you to review your objectives, discuss various legal and financial solutions and determine a consensus solution.
- Solution Meeting - The advisor team will present a unified solution plan, including all legal and financial components, to you. Because many of us are living into our 90s, your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes over 20 or more years.
How to Fund the Asset Protection Plan
Once the plan has been approved, your advisors will make a list of the assets and determine where they need to go. It can easily take six months to a year to fully fund the plan, and it’s usually done in steps and pieces. During this time, it’s important that everyone stays informed about the process.
Levels of Asset Protection Strategies
There are numerous asset protection strategies you can employ, from very basic to advanced, depending upon the particular risks you face, your current situation, and the extent to which you are willing and able to go to protect your assets. Briefly, asset protection begins with utilizing state and federal law exemptions for things like life insurance, retirement plans, and limited types of jointly owned property. These exemptions have limited effectiveness, however, because they only protect these specific types of assets. For those who need broader protections, more advanced strategies like business entities and even trusts specifically designed to protect you against future creditors may be in order.
How Insurance Can Minimize Risk to Your Assets
It is crucial to have a regular review of not just your current assets, in order to examine whether they are exempt or not, but to check your insurance policies as well to best protect your assets to the fullest.
Some of the actions you should take on a regular basis to safeguard your assets from risk include:
- Review your insurance policies: Take time to review the most pertinent aspects of your individual liability insurance plan with your attorney, as well as insurance professionals
- Make sure your policies are up to date: Checking that insurance policies are the most current, up-to-date versions
- Check for loopholes: Carefully examining whether such policies contain any loopholes or hidden clauses
- Understand your coverage limits: Ensuring that the designated limits of coverage are adequate for your needs
- Know your deductibles: Making sure that the deductibles set forth by your insurance are reasonable and appropriate to your situation
Should I Use an LLC to Protect My Business Assets?
Choosing to operate as single proprietors instead of broad legal entities such as corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs) can be tempting, since you do not have to pay steep legal fees in keeping and managing a legal entity.
However, legal entities can often provide safer benefits against risk, since a lawsuit against a single proprietor can more easily damage your own personal assets. To select the most appropriate and protective legal entity, however, can be a complex process without the aid of your knowledgeable asset protection attorneys in Madison.
Contact a Madison Asset Protection Lawyer Today
Asset protection planning is a complex area, and as you start to become familiar with these tools, you will begin to understand why a team of advisors is usually needed to accomplish your goals. If you are concerned about protecting your assets, talk to us. We can help you evaluate your situation, put together a team of advisors and start putting a plan into place. Most asset protection plans will build right on top of your existing estate planning.