Check Your Insurance Coverage:
Homeowner’s Policies: Fires and other calamities happen frequently. You must check that your house is adequately insured should a disaster completely destroy it. For example, some families who lose their homes in fires find that their $250,000 liability policy will not go very far in replacing a home that costs $400,000 to rebuild to meet modern codes and increased building costs. Clients who recently suffered through the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs in the summer of 2012 know this only too well.
Personal Property Policies: The value of many of your items of personal property, while priceless to you, could also be considerably expensive to replace and your current policy may not cover replacement costs. You should take into account such important things as custom college rings, or inherited jewelry. Again, the lessons of the Waldo Canyon Fire is proof of this requirement.
Business Liability Policies: we all know that our society is litigious. Personal injury lawyers are always expanding their theories of vicarious liability, meaning you have to defend yourself against more and more creative ways of getting money from you. Make sure that your coverage for accidents is adequate to keep you from losing everything, in your business, or even personally.
Home Accident Policies: The coverage for accidents on your homestead should also be reviewed to determine if the coverage is adequate.
Life Insurance Policies: Is your coverage adequate if you have recently had children, grandchildren , or adult children have returned to the nest? Many stay-at-home spouses are uninsured or underinsured. The spouse bringing in most of the family's income may not appreciate all that their spouses do, whether they work in the home or in an office, until something happens and the cost of replacing the tremendous value that spouse contributes to the family is finally evident if the spouse passes unexpectedly.
Smoke Detectors: If you are going to be buying batteries for all your electronic equipment, buy some extra ones and replace all of the batteries in your smoke detectors as an annual habit. Set the date and mark it on your calendar.
Asset Protection Entity: If you have investment real estate that you rent, or even raw land, consider placing that real estate in a partnership or limited liability company for your protection. Without entity-based planning, you have a metaphorical "six lane highway" leading right up to your front door if you are sued.
For some of our clients, the steps we listed previously are not enough. Asset protection planning is a significant part of our Firm’s law practice. Buckley Law represents many doctors (including doctor groups), dentists and other health care professionals. Buckley Law also represents many high-net worth individuals and entrepreneurs (including women entrepreneurs). The tools we use are legal, ethical, and customary in this type of planning. We do not use tools that are not sanctioned by the Internal Revenue Service or that would be seen objectively as seeking to defraud a creditor. Legitimate asset protection planning must be done before a lawsuit happens. If a lawsuit occurs first, or you even think it is coming, it may be too late to do anything that protects you from any future judgment in that case.
Several tools we employ regularly provide numerous lines of defense for entrepreneurs, high-net worth individuals, and professionals that face significant liability in the day-to-day practice of their profession. Those tools include irrevocable trusts (including trusts formed offshore that own onshore assets) as well as limited liability companies and limited partnerships.
Most importantly, not all asset protection tools are the same. Where you form an entity is just as important as forming the entity itself, because not all jurisdictions are the same. Some jurisdictions where you form an entity provide better protection than other jurisdictions. The primary purpose of entity-based tools for asset protection planning is to provide multiple layers of defense, insulating your personal assets from the creditor seeking to seize those assets in a judgment. A secondary purpose is to allow an opportunity for early settlement at significantly less cost in the event a lawsuit does occur.