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Life Member: The Top
Trial Lawyers in America

Past Articles


Once upon a time, common sense meant living by simple, sound social rules. And yes, believe it or not, respect for others, and elders, were once reliable principles we could count on ……. adults, not children, were in charge.

But so much has changed. Common sense appears lacking wherever we look. What we took for granted in the past is today being challenged - even threatened - going forward. First, we ask:

Where Has Common Sense Gone?

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t just act on doing the 'right thing'? Our social structure - the very fabric around us - is undergoing cataclysmic changes that may never be understood.


Individuals with assets are seeking safe offshore havens in record numbers in fear of government asset seizures and confiscations. Business owners waste important resources documenting files to avoid fears of a lawsuit before discharging a bad employee or ending a business relationship. Medical doctors order more tests and additional medical opinions - even though of an uncertain value - simply out of fear of being sued for malpractice.


Or a teacher fails to maintain control in the classroom over fears a parent will file a civil lawsuit. And local judges allow dubious civil cases to proceed in the courtroom against an out-of-town business or professional in fear of being voted off the bench in the next election.

Today, social, business and professional interaction is often driven by distrust and fear, and not by common sense. Even volunteering is risky, in case someone claims you’ve done something wrong.
What do we Fear?


Fear is an unpleasant emotion. Fear is to be afraid of someone or something likely to be dangerous, painful, or harmful. But fear can also be a good thing.


Fear is good when it motivates an individual to act bravely to do things we previously lacked courage or motivation to do. Fear can keep us safe as we are hard-wired for self-preservation. And then fear becomes instructive so we can take measures to improve our situation.


It's not always a fear of doing something wrong. The real fear is that someone might later claim that you didn't act appropriately, and therefore you could be held accountable for someone's trumped up damages. Yes, trumped up - how appropriate an expression.

The uncertainties about what might happen drives fear. Worse yet, making choices burdened with fears of governments, lawsuits, claims of damages, or potentially huge legal fees, seems to have taken over and drives our actions. Is it just me, or does it seem the once normal and ordinary choices of civility are buried in history?
Feeling free to do what you think is the right thing is a source of human accomplishment. The self-confidence of past generations was based upon their independent, self-acting, 'can do' spirit. Sure, sometimes things didn’t go right, but somehow they got it done and things turned out good.
Today, the satisfaction of doing the right thing, and getting it done, is replaced with a system of overbearing and authoritative rules and political correctness that interferes with people acting and achieving great things. Our forefathers created a world based upon a unique and special spirit of cooperation in working with others, not out of fear of what others might think or say.
Take away that spirit, and what do we have left? More fear?
Instead, today, we are frequently worried about being 'extra safe' in what we say or do. This has become the norm. Actions are directed towards avoiding risks. Concerns of taking on too much risk or liability is more important than assisting someone or taking on new opportunities. Too frequently we feel compelled to take the easy road, if only to avoid being harassed or sued.
What Compels Us?
And with just reason, I might add. The number of lawsuits in our society continues to run rampant and shows no sign of easing off. Your risk of being sued today is greater than ever before.
Not long ago, a Miami jury awarded $102.7 million against a parking lot owner in favor of a man waiting in his parked car after he was shot and injured by a couple of hoodlums in an apparent robbery attempt. The amount covered $1.4 million for medical expenses, $164,000 for lost earnings, $28 million for future medical expenses, $650,000 for lost earning ability, $2.5 million for past pain and suffering and a whopping $70 million for future pain and suffering. A judgment of US$ 102.7 million is enough to bankrupt just about anyone, even with deep pockets and a comprehensive liability insurance. 
It was a dangerous neighborhood to sit in a parked car late at night..... but this didn’t seem to matter to the jury.

You remember the huge jury award for spilling hot coffee on the driver's lap after carelessly pulling away from a fast food drive-up window? Or the playground that was closed after standing for two generations as the center point of a community after a child fell and was injured and the local recreational district was sued. Or animal rights advocates that filed a lawsuit on behalf of chimpanzees in a zoo arguing they too had legal rights.

Today, instead of university students openly discussing different and diverse opinions, they are becoming thin skinned and coddled. Professors at major universities fear discussing controversial subjects, or using politically incorrect terms, and 'dumb-down' the teaching roster out of fear of offending a student. 

Have we all gone bananas?
Rules and laws are essential in a free society. They set the standards of conduct for which we must act. When the legal system functions adequately we hardly notice it is there. It sits quietly in the background to govern when we need it. Rules and laws shouldn't become the central focus of daily decisions and drive good people to act around it…. or not act at all.
Fears of rules and laws are not defining features of a free society.

The American constitution was formed upon the premise of 'protecting' individual rights from oppressive government authority. Following the freedom movements of the 1960s and 1970s, society shifted from protection of individual rights to the 1980s forcing others to comply with our demands. Lawsuits galore were filed in the 1980s and 1990s for perceived damages of all types. “Either do it my way, or I'll sue” became the mantra of the spoiled sport.

What about personal discretion and acting accordingly? Do we always need someone else to blame when something goes wrong?


Give me a friggin break already!


And then it only got worse. Government intervention and the nanny state took firm hold during the 2000s. And then governments in unison across the globe starting calling the shots during the 2010s, having tremendous impact on our personal financial affairs. And for many, the government has become the greatest fear. 

And where do you think we go forward as we drift into the late 2010s and into the 2020s? Does the picture look any rosier to you?

Common sense was thrown out the window long ago.

What about personal choices and personal responsibility, and acting accordingly?

Enter the Sovereign Individual

There are still steps you can take today to protect your assets.These steps, taken further, allow you to regain control of your life and your hard earned assets. You can learn more about what it means to be a Sovereign Individual from past newsletters located at our web site found here.

Or you can learn about planning strategies for the Sovereign Individual in Offshore Living & Investing, 2nd edition here.

The Sovereign Individual knows how to take steps to manage risks and protect assets acquired over a lifetime. An International Trust is often an important part of the planning process. These steps become very liberating.

Steps to Protect Your Assets
The good news is that you too can take steps to manage the risks you encounter.
The type of assets you own, the value of those assets, and how they are owned are often starting points of the steps to consider. Your age, business and professional risks, objectives for your future, retirement goals and children’s inheritances also factor into the equation. These are just a few of the many issues to consider when looking to protect your assets.
But most importantly, the key is to take the necessary steps in advance of a problem to protect and preserve what you have worked a lifetime to achieve.
Acting today is the first and most important step in protecting assets from frivolous claims or other demands against what you own.
Where to begin? Here are some links to articles with useful information about protecting assets and related topics.
Begin with understanding your risks, particularly in dealing with partners in a business or profession.
Learn about how to achieve quality asset protection planning, and what to avoid.
Integrate estate planning tools into an asset protection plan. But first, understand the options and the terminology, that is, what does it all mean?

For some, using domestic planning tools is sufficient. But for others, going offshore is a superior risk management tool.

Learn more about International Trusts, and why they are so beneficial. 


If you decide to go offshore, make sure it is legal. And always ask the big question when looking to offshore banking, and that is, just how safe is your cash?

There are many free articles on the above topics and more on our web site if you follow this link to Past Articles.

There is no “one-size-fits-all planning” tool. But there are well-established, long-standing, legal techniques available for you to use to protect what is yours.

Fear not.

 The Most Important Step?
But the most important step of all is to act now to protect your hard earned assets before you are presented with a problem. Otherwise, at best, you will be limited to mostly damage control.

Like buying an insurance policy, it is difficult to obtain coverage if the house is burning and the fire department is at your door. You must act now, in advance of a problem, to protect and preserve your hard-earned assets. Taking action today is the biggest and most important step of all.

Remember the time worn phrase that the worst thing about fear, is the fear itself. Use common sense and take steps now to protect and preserve your hard-earned assets.

So, what have you done lately?
Until next time.
David A Tanzer, Esq.
JD, BSc, Ph.D (Hon)
For more information visit or email to David is the author of “How to Legally Protect Your Assets” and “Offshore Living and Investing.”

David A Tanzer & Assoc., PC.

Vail, CO USA:
Tel. (970) 476-6100
Fax (720) 293-2272

Auckland, New Zealand:
Tel. (64) 9 353-1328
Fax (64) 9 353-1328

Brisbane, Australia:
Tel. (61) 7 3319 6999
Fax (61) 7 3319 6999

(Licensed to Practice Law in U.S. States & Federal Courts;
Assoc. Member Auckland, N.Z. District Law Society - Foreign Lawyer; &
Assoc. Member Queensland Law Society, AU - Foreign Lawyer)
(C) Copyright 2008 David Tanzer all rights reserved. The comments herein are not intended to constitute a legal or tax opinion regarding any specific legal or tax issue as additional issues may exist; does not reach a conclusion with respect to any specific legal or tax issue addressed herein or any additional issues not included; and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding legal or tax obligations or penalties with respect to issues in or outside the scope of matters discussed herein.
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