If you are a successful entrepreneur with a business and investment portfolio worth $5M to $100M, the phrase “asset protection” usually revolves around one of a few questions, such as:
? “How do I stop paying so much in taxes?”
? “How do I protect my assets from creditors?”
? “How do I ensure my assets keep me comfortable during my entire life, and that my loved ones and community benefit from them when I’m gone?”
Structures to Perpetuate Your Values
We build structures to minimize taxes and maximize asset protection flexibility, with a focus on family preparedness, beneficiary responsibility, and the preservation of your values for generations to come.
Our personal planning service configures unique tax minimization formulas, based on a customized strategic combination of IRS-approved investment programs and technical tools, which lead to maximum asset protection — to defend against the many known and unknown volatile forces that risk the prosperous future you and your heirs desire and deserve.
View our Estate Planning Periodic Table to see the many options we have available to custom-design an estate plan that exactly meets your specific goals for the future.
Asset Protection to Keep Creditors Away
Asset protection is more about creditors than tax reduction, which is a separate feature of any trust planning or asset protection planning you do.
While you can approach the two goals together, usually you are going to use a different set of strategies for reducing the taxes you pay than you are for asset protection, which is what prevents creditors from getting to the trust assets, property, and/or income.
- Estate planners, trust-makers, and trustees will devise and implement various tactics to reduce taxes on the income of the assets.
- Reducing taxes usually uses some kind of wrapper around the property, so that income isn’t going to be taxable, or isn’t going to be taxable except as distributed.
Because your protection tactics are devised to keep the creditors away from your assets, usually the trust documents contain discretionary language, so the trustee is not mandated to pay assets out, and the beneficiary is not allowed to absolute request for the assets.
Except under certain conditions, the beneficiary cannot demand the assets and the trustee is not obligated to pay them out, because to the same extent the trustee is obligated to pay them out to the beneficiary, or the beneficiary can demand them, then the beneficiary’s creditors can also demand them. That is a totally separate situation from growing the assets in a tax-protected environment.
Tax Protection to Keep Family Assets Away From IRS
You could consider the IRS is a creditor. From that perspective, how do you protect your assets from that creditor? Protecting assets from the IRS is a significant subset of overall asset protection planning, and most asset protection planning would occur exclusive of protecting from the growth of your tax liability.
- Captive insurance, for example, is a form of asset protection AND tax protection. The insurance policy often provide both asset and tax protection until the money becomes available.
- Annuities and other investments are frequently both asset-protected and tax-protected. Some of these asset protection instruments are also high-commission items, so you should know if you are consulting with a financial adviser, as opposed to an attorney, you are asking to be sold high commission items.
You therefore may receive advice that is more driven by commissions than by true asset protection to your maximum benefit. Financial advisers are not trained in asset protection, and the asset protection you receive from them are only as good as the state statute with jurisdiction might provide.
When you think of asset protection relative to family trusts, your financial adviser is very likely interested in controlling your assets and not so interested in your family being as healthy as it can be. These are potential conflicting interests that you should consider and receive advise about.
Take Steps To Plan Your Legacy
Evaluate your family’s odds of achieving a successful asset transition. Complete the 1O-question Estate Transition Checklist to determine how prepared you and your family are to achieve your asset transition goals.
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Our Personal Estate Planning Priorities Survey, in combination with the Estate Transition Checklist, will help determine your vision and goals for your estate plan and how it is administered by your heirs.
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