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Once upon a time, common sense and respect for others meant living by simple, sound rules. And yes, it once meant respect for those that worked hard for what they earned, for those holding positions of authority, and even for elders. These were reliable principles we could count on. And adults were in charge, not children.

But so much has changed. Common sense and respect seems to have disappeared at even the highest levels. What's left to protect is being challenged - and even threatened - at all levels. 

As a result, many are maintaining control of their assets - and regaining control of their life - by implementing protective measures in a 'gone mad' world. How? 

First, it begs the question:

Where Has Common Sense?

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 is difficult to understand.

Individuals with assets are seeking safe international venues in record numbers for fear of government asset seizures and confiscations, not just lawsuits. Business owners waste important resources documenting files to avoid fears of a lawsuit before discharging a bad employee, ending a business relationship, or even taking on new opportunities. Medical doctors now order more tests and additional medical opinions than ever before - even though of an uncertain value - simply out of fear of being sued for malpractice.

Teachers fail to maintain control in the classroom over fears a parent will file a civil lawsuit against them. 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. Even the U.S. President is threatened - and threatening others - with lawsuits for just about everything.

Today, social, business and professional interaction is often driven by distrust, fear, and control of others, and not by common sense or respect. 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 us 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. It might be a fear 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 large legal fees, seems to have taken over and drives our actions. Civility seems to be a thing of the past.

Feeling free to do what you think is the right thing is a source of human accomplishment. The self-confidence of those who walked before us was based upon their independent, self-acting, 'can do' spirit. Sometimes things didn’t go perfect, but somehow they got it done.

Today, the satisfaction of doing the right thing, and getting it done, is replaced with a system of threats, belligerence, excessive rules and political correctness that interferes with people 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? 

What Compels Us?

 The number of lawsuits in our society continues to run rampant and shows no sign of easing off. Government personal asset seizures are at record highs, and even when when individuals are not charged or convicted of a crime. And 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 in an apparent robbery attempt. And the multi-million dollar award for hot coffee a driver spilt on their lap after carelessly pulling away from a fast food drive-up window. Or the playground that was closed 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.

And today, university students refuse to discussing diverse opinions to their own. They have become thin skinned and coddled by Professors fear of discussing controversial and being fired or sued. Instead, teachers do the politically correct thing out of fear of offending a student.

Differing opinions are essential for a free society. Respect is based upon standards for how to act. And when the legal system functions properly, we hardly notice it is there. Leaders and politicians sit quietly in the background to govern when it is needed. Rules don't make people respectful, or create common sense. And acting on fear is not a hallmark 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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