Asset Protection Fact and Fiction

There are few industries that are more fraught with tension, mystery, and misinformation than the asset protection industry.

There are all kinds of purveyors out there trying to tell you how wonderful they are at asset protection planning and how safe your stuff will be, if you will please just pay them to set up a plan for you. I am not saying that lawyers are all angels, but it should probably cause you some concern that most of those purveyors are not lawyers, or are fronts for lawyers not willing to admit they are lawyers, or perhaps are run by people who used to be lawyers and are not lawyers now….perhaps not by their choice. What’s my point? I have several:

First, if you use a lawyer and it does not work out as advertised, you get to sue that lawyer, and if he or she intends to stay in business they, or their malpractice carrier, has to pay you. Not so with that company, you found on the internet. What happens if their plan crashes? You are going to sue them? Don’t you think that if they truly know ANYTHING about asset protection planning, they will have insulated the people behind the curtain from personal exposure to you? And if your answer to me is no, then why would you trust them to insulate you if they can’t insulate themselves?

Secondly, it’s one thing to say you can set up an asset protection plan, and another to be in a position to stand behind it. What lawyer is going to defend your plan that they did not create? I am not saying you could not find one, but would you not want the lawyer who SET UP your plan to be the one who defends it? Who better to understand its intricacies and intent than its creator? And if the lawyer has given you any advice about the integrity of his plan, and that advice turns out challenged, is that lawyer not facing malpractice exposure if the plan falls short, and is that not a strong motivating force to fight for its honor?

Finally, the universe of asset protection planning is constantly evolving in the legal system. Do you really expect your mysterious online asset protection company to be reading case-law throughout the land and understanding how courts in the various states, or at the federal and international level, are viewing asset protection devices and structures? Many of these cases are hard enough to understand if you have years of legal training, and are certainly going to be complicated gibberish to the layperson or the pseudo-professional. It is the fine nuances of legal jurisprudence that make for the proper counsel of asset protection; not in creating some boilerplate legal-sounding pile of documents.

There used to be a TV commercial with a mechanic talking to the camera touting a national brand oil filter, and how it will save your car. “You can buy this now, or you can pay me later”, he sneers. Bargain hunting nest egg owners take heed.