The topic of asset protection in the context of financial planning can mean different things to different people.
Historically, asset protection has been approached largely with the concept of hiding or minimizing visibility of assets for the purpose of avoiding potential taxes due, limiting claims from creditors in the event of a default, or to deny or cap claims on assets from ex-spouses (or soon to be), relatives with no relationship to the asset owner, or frivolous lawsuit filers, as examples.
An allegory might be that one takes the most valuable assets they have, puts them in a treasure chest or set of chests secured with various types of locks all over, and then buries the chest(s) on a remote island for retrieval later. The two primary aims being (1) to prevent others from even knowing the treasure chest exists, especially tax collectors; and (2) to require special keys and significant resources to be spent to get to and access the chest(s) if identified.
While this has been a commonly attempted approach it is fraught with challenges ranging from potentially violating tax reporting requirements, to dishonorable or questionable intent, to creating a mess and unnecessary expenses for heirs.
This means protecting assets with an approach that stems from a different set of premises. The top three premises are:
This keeps intentions clean and demonstrable, any potential actions honorable, leverages available legal remedies and tax code, while also minimizing potential financial, emotional, and spiritual damage to the family.
This scenario is more akin to an American football game where every asset or item of value that one wants to protect is placed in one endzone. Using various coverings and containers such as safes, boxes, screens, and physical positioning, making it difficult to identify many of the items, the condition of said items, any encumbrances that might exist on key items, and the potential dollar value items.
Anyone who wants to potentially access those assets will have to start one hundred yards away in the opposite endzone and drive towards the endzone where the assets are located.
The person becomes aware or is counseled that they will need a team, money, and determination to get in the game at all, and then must also agree to play by established rules of the game or be penalized or disqualified from continuing to be play. Embedded in the strategy selected by design can also be regular intervals of progression that require significant expense, time, and professional experience to access. For example, if the person is on their 20-yard line and wants to advance, it will cost them.
In short, once this broad scenario is realized to be in play by a potential initiator or their legal counsel, it causes them to further weigh the potential reward they might get from any potential action taken against the estimated cost in time and money to achieve the potential action.
Two things that might surprise most people.
It is less expensive than historical costs to create and execute an asset protection strategy. Cost today is driven by the a) number, value, and disposition of asset and liability types, b) investor situation complexity, and c) the desired level of protection and probability applied to a given scenario.
Gibborim Financial supports clients with systematic or specific asset protection strategy development and planning. Specifically, we typically assist clients with creating and executing a comprehensive asset and liability management plan, including working with any applicable tax, legal, or other professionals, which is built to address their particular situation.
Contact us with questions or to inquire about asset protection services for your family or business.