Key One: Realize That Our System Is A Failure And Engage In Self-Help Tort Reform
Tort means “a wrong” and refers in this case to damages due to an injured party. Our judicial system is a failure; litigation is out of control. Juries are not fair. Many Lawyers are “situationally unethical” (underemployed and looking to make some money from any source regardless of the morality).
Redistribution of wealth is the norm and not the exception. As I mentioned in chapter one, we have too many lawyers, each licensed to file lawsuits, most often on a contingent basis. This system will not change (the Trial Lawyers Association is the strongest lobby in Washington).
It is time for “self-help tort reform.” What is tort reform? Tort is defined in one Law Dictionary as – A legal wrong committed upon the person or property independent of contract. It may be either:
(1) A direct invasion of some legal right of the individual;
(2) The infraction of some public duty by which special damages accrues to the individual;
(3) The violation of some private obligation by which like damage accrues to the individual. More specifically in
regards to asset protection – a wrongful act other than a breach of contract for which relief may be obtained in the form of damages or an injunction.
Why The Need For Self-Help Tort Reform?
Why should you educate yourself in the aspects of American law and about the American judicial system if you are not involved in immediate litigation?
Because you ARE involved – whether you know it or not. According to a recent ABC television special, over 90 million lawsuits are filed annually in America. This bizarre lawyer translates into a $1,200 tort tax for every
man, woman and child in America.
That tort tax is factored into the price of goods and services…and you pay for it! The lawyer dominated judicial system has given this nation the distinction of being the most litigious nation on earth.
And just in case you haven’t noticed, your freedoms, privileges, and rights under the US Constitution are being watered down daily by the lawyer culture of this nation. Millions of Americans are at risk legally because:
1. They do not know how to protect their own financial holdings;
2. They do not have the information necessary (or the funds) to hire a qualified specialist to do it for them;
3. Unethical lawyers, through malpractice, theft, and fraud, rip off thousands of Americans every year.
We Americans have been bamboozled into believing it takes a lawyer to handle the most basic legal procedure and nothing could be further from the truth.
Today we have a nation that resembles a giant law factory. American lawmakers (lawyers in the majority) are grinding out new laws every single day of our existence. Many of these laws are truly needless and are destroying America!
Key One Summary:
Realize our legal system is flawed and will not protect you.
Take control over your own life and your own assets.
Key Two: Implement Asset Protection When The Financial Seas Are Calm
The guidance in my lessons depends on you being able to satisfy your known creditors both before and after the asset protection is implemented.
A properly implemented plan starts the statute of limitations – relating to fraudulent conveyance – running the moment it is funded. It is cheap insurance. Do NOT wait until the world starts to fall down around you to do your plan. Do the plan when you are financially healthy. Remember, asset protection assumes that there are people who want to take your money and property away from you. The professional takers hunt down and corner people with unprotected assets. You must use preventative methods that will discourage the professional takers by making it too difficult and to expensive to take your money. This is legal, time-tested and it works!
A timely settled asset protection plan keeps your valuable assets (business, savings, house, cars, stocks, bonds, IRA’s etc.) from any creditors, legitimate or otherwise who want to take them from you.
To provide solid protection, your plan needs to be set up when the financial seas are calm. I use a term called “old and cold,” which means your plan has been established and in force long before any attack takes place or before any creditors become known to you.
That way, no valid claim can be levied that states, “that you created your asset protection plan with the intent to commit fraud”; in other words, that you did it with the specific intent to keep your creditors hands off. If you make the decision to properly implement an asset protection plan, you can normally prevent:
- Your creditors from reaching your assets, or actually the
assets of the trust.
- Your creditors from reaching your assets, or actually the
- Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse from taking you to the financial
- Your business partner’s mistakes from ruining your nest egg.
- A disgruntled customer or employee from putting you out of
- The government from seizing and keeping your money.
In the unlikely event that you are sued, you’ll also be secure in knowing that you’ll normally have enough assets after a suit to:
- Start fresh
- Survive with the lifestyle you’re accustomed to
- Spend your money where you want and on whom
- Transfer wealth to those you love without the government or creditors touching it
- Retain complete control over the protected assets
- All asset protection techniques have one thing in common: they each make it more difficult for a creditor to either find or take your assets.
By implementing a properly crafted asset protection plan, you can legitimately put a significant portion of your assets out of the reach of judgment creditors and still retain complete control over these protected assets.
Key Two Summary:
The effect of timely, established asset protection planning is the elimination of the economic incentive to litigate.
Key Three: Choose Your Battlefield
Picking your battlefield means that a US judgment against you, means nothing, because foreign laws protect your assets.
Know the two fundamentals:
Those are the two bottom-line basics for asset protection and serve as the foundation for this key principle.
Proper planning allows you the advantage of forcing people who sue you, (or try to sue you) to do it in places where a US judgment is as worthless as a burnt-out light bulb. This is not to say that assets have to leave the USA to be protected, they don’t.
You simply use a foreign trust to force creditors to litigate abroad, NOT to move your money there.Here’s how to ensure that you can choose your battlefield, if your assets ever become the target of attack.
The first step is to “give birth” to a new entity, (the trust), which will technically be living in another country.
We’ll call this a foreign trust.This trust is a NEW creation, like a brand new baby, and thus owes no one anything.
This trust needs to be created in a country that does not automatically recognize US judgments (and remember,this is the entire world since no country in the world automatically recognizes US judgments).
Now here’s the best part. Even though the trust is foreign, your assets can remain where they are, under your control.This trust is treated as a foreigner for debtor creditor purposes.Traditionally, good solid asset protection will involve an offshore trust. It satisfies both fundamentals: it is foreign and it is NOT you.
The Perfect Foreign Jurisdiction Does Not Exist
Dozens upon dozens of offshore financial centers exist and they all have different features and benefits, and I can’t tell you that there is one single entity that is the “perfect” jurisdiction.
In the process of crafting your asset protection plan you’ll need to look at the positive and negative features of a few different jurisdictions.
I have a couple favorites that I have studied and used for my clients very successfully. Your personal preferences may make a difference in deciding what jurisdiction is right for you. A wise strategy is to sometimes design and implement a structure that utilizes one or more locations.
Key Three SummaryPicking your battlefield means that a US judgment against you, means nothing, because foreign laws protect your assets.
Key Four: Never Trust Anybody With Your Hard-Earned Money
You should never trust your Trustee.
Never delegate control of your money to anybody. Keep control and you cannot be cheated.
This causes more problems for people than anything else. There’s a point to what I’m saying. It’s not because people are dishonest, it’s just that it is not necessary to HAVE to trust someone.
Many people, often with the advice of “experts,” simply put their funds into trust with a foreign trust company and think that they are protected.
I think that this is foolish.
It is almost never necessary to delegate control over your money to another person or entity, and certainly not when a plan is first implemented.
Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to unscrupulous trust companies that simply walk away with your money. You have no alternative. Take these words to heart: Never delegate control of your money to anybody.
Keep control and you cannot be cheated. And yes people are swindled all the time. Here’s an example of just such a swindler. Continue and Read the case of Marc H. Harris here.
Key Five: Don’t Let The Tax Tail Wag the Dog
Asset protection planning will almost never save you any taxes. If you use an asset protection trust, you can count on NO material income tax savings and probably an increase in compliance costs.
If somebody advises you that an offshore trust (or indeed most offshore structures to protect assets) will save you tax – walk away… you are almost certainly in the hands of a scammer.
How do you know if promises people make to you about saving on taxes is fraud? SIMPLE…US Citizens are taxed “on their worldwide income from whatever source derived.” Anytime ANYBODY says an offshore trust or an offshore bank will save you any taxes, they are advising you to commit a crime: RUN.
Offshore trusts and offshore accounts alone will not save taxes. In a like matter, asset protection is tax neutral; alone it will NEVER ever save you taxes.
In fact, any offshore account needs to be specifically reported to the IRS (and if you have unreported accounts please remedy this before the IRS does it for you). Remember, abuse of foreign trusts has become a major focus of the IRS.
The IRS has the personnel (often ex-CIA), the computers, the data, and other necessary resources to catch this brand of tax cheater.
Key 5 Summary:
With a few minor exceptions, asset protection and tax savings are not synonymous. Be wary of anyone or any organization that tells you otherwise. Americans are taxed on their worldwide income; no matter where it’s earned it is still income taxable in the U.S. If you are a US citizen – you are taxed on your worldwide income, period.
One of the biggest components of Asset protection is to avoid lawsuits and liability altogether. Asset protection will keep your wealth out of the hands of creditors but it won’t always prevent you
from being sued.
The key factor that I create in my clients asset protection plans (which your own asset protection plan should provide for you) is reducing your chances of being sued because the “would be attacker” perceives that you do not have enough wealth to pursue – you reduce the economic incentive to litigate.
So, the first lesson is this: if you’re living a very public, very extravagant life, driving the most fancy car on the road etc., all can advertise you as a good target for financial predators.
Common sense asset protection is this “If you got it and you flaunt it, you increase your risk of losing it.”
Having said all that I still believe that you have the right to live your own life the way you decide you have deserved to live it. If you’re more interested in being who you are than conforming to avoid the financial predators, this next chapter will show you what you can do.