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Do you know how to achieve quality asset protection planning to protect your assets?

BUYER BEWARE: While the Asset Protection Planning industry is still a relatively small one, there are many well-intended practitioners today putting together asset protection plans who simply don't have a clue what happens in litigation and how to actually protect client's assets from lawsuits. Unfortunately for the clients who fall into the hands of these well-intended who have put together their plans according to the latest marketing gimmicks, their plans usually fall apart at the first threat of litigation.

The real test of successful asset protection planning will stand or fail in the courtroom. Remember these words, since obtaining quality asset protection planning from top-quality experts in the field is all about achieving the desired results you seek in the first place.

The worst offenders are the non-attorney scam artists who put together worthless asset protection "kits" from various offshore havens. These kits don't give any real asset protection. Not only are the standard form packages generally useless, but they are rarely properly funded with the assets that are supposed to be protected.

The next set of offenders are the asset protection mills churning out thousands of Family Limited Partnerships or Asset Protection Trusts at discount prices. Generally, secretaries and paralegals that crank out documents from their word processors are behind these mills. These mills offer no customized planning, and worse yet, they are often filled with errors and create more problems than the ones you are trying to avoid.

And too, there are the offshore service-providers who claim that their Offshore Trusts, IBCs or bank accounts are guaranteed not to fail, regardless of the problem or issue you are confronted with. These guarantees are misleading and false. And unfortunately, these marketing claims create a very negative image for the asset protection industry, instill doubt in the U.S. courts where they are ultimately challenged, and create unreasonable expectations by people desiring legitimate asset protection plans.

Finally, there are claims of using multiple layers of various types of entities to secret assets and obtain maximum privacy. These plans are generally a waste of your time and money, and are often created for no other purpose than concealing or hiding assets. The hallmark of a successful asset protection plan is not in hiding assets.

So then, how do you achieve quality asset protection planning in a world increasingly filed with unscrupulous peddlers of questionable or fraudulent asset protection products?

PICK THE RIGHT PLANNER WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS: Asset protection is a legal strategy of isolating your nest egg into various entities, which grow for future retirement or subsequent generations. It also means correctly managing the legal risks associated with the various type of assets and segregating hot or risky assets and activities from other non-risky types of assets or activities.

Understand that asset protection planning is not about guaranteeing you will never loose a dollar to a claimant or creditor. However, it is a system, or method, that ultimately should allow you to create a much stronger line of defense to resolve a dispute with far better results than if you did not have proper planning in place. Asset protection planning is, and should be, your final line of defense. You are foolhardy and simply rolling the dice if you haven't created a successful asset protection plan well in advance of this eventuality.

Asset protection has come to mean the integration of multi-disciplinary fields of international law and business planning for the purpose of protecting assets. Solid asset protection planning utilizes the experience of qualified and experienced multi-disciplined individuals, and reflects a high order of ethics and competence by planners in various fields using a team approach.

Regrettably, too many well-intended asset protection planners have the skills in the wrong order, meaning that they have the least experience in a field where it is needed most. In other words, they are too often most experienced in the fields which are of secondary, or lesser, importance such as estate planning and taxation. While these skills are of critical importance in integrating and achieving a successful asset protection plan, they are generally totally lacking in trial and litigation skills that are needed the most to actually protect assets against lawsuits.

WHAT KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE SHOULD YOUR ASSET PROTECTION PLANNER HAVE? As stated above, the true test of whether asset protection planning fails or succeeds is generally in the courtroom. This is a basic premise you must remember when looking to achieve quality asset protection planning. Therefore, first and foremost, trial and litigation experience is essential to quality asset protection planning.

Being a seasoned and experienced trial litigator means being able to predict what judges and juries will do when faced with your particular set of circumstances. You simply can't make reasonable trial predictions unless you have been in a number of civil trials. Attempting to predict what judges will do without understanding the courtroom and litigation tactics is akin to a hope and a prayer. It is unfortunate how many so-called asset protection planning experts have little or no experience in the single most important arena where your asset protection planning could ultimately be tested.

Secondly, it is essential that a planner have knowledge of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act, and how your planning might be wiped out by failing to comply with this statutory law. Good asset protection plans are created through the use of corporations, partnerships, LLCs, trusts, and other like entities, and the transfer of assets into these entities. The planner must also be well versed with the law regarding the formation, operation, and defense of these structures. And too, a good asset protection planner should be knowledgeable about bankruptcy law since these legal tools may be needed in a time of crisis.

Thirdly, it is important that the planners be versed in the laws of at least the main offshore jurisdictions they operate in, as well as with international banking and how moneys are transferred overseas. It is no doubt that we live in an economic village today and the world is much smaller. Your planner must understand how laws and customs function from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Fourthly, quality asset protection plans are created in coordination with competent tax professionals. It is important that no negative tax consequences be created. In the first instance, asset protection plans should be designed to be "tax neutral", meaning that they have neither positive nor negative tax consequences. At the same time, if opportunities for legal tax planning exist, this should be incorporated into the planning structure by qualified tax professionals.

Finally, asset protection plans should be integrated with a client's estate planning. Integrating asset protection planning with estate planning is highly desirable for a variety of reasons, and allows you to achieve quality results with your planning structure.

SEEK COMPETENT & EXPERIENCED PLANNERS: Asset protection is like any other form of legal planning. Always hire the best attorneys who have the experience and training in the areas most important to make the plan work. Question these attorneys on what they do and how. Ask how many civil cases and courtroom trials they have successfully completed. Then, rely on their legal expertise and judgment, but always use your common sense.

For asset protection planning to work, ask yourself if you will be able to look a judge or jury in the eye and say that you are confident in what your asset protection planner has created for you. Will you be able to state that the steps you took were legal, ethical, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety?

One of the most important keys to achieving solid asset protection planning is to take steps now, well in advance of problems presenting themselves. If you wait until it is too late, then there is not much that you can do other than damage control. Take action today, while the seas are calm and before the storm sets in.

To learn more about the legal tools (both stateside and offshore) to help protect your assets see "How to Legally Protect Your Assets"

Best Regards,
David A. Tanzer
Attorney at Law
Vail, CO

(C) Copyright 2007 David Tanzer all rights reserved. David Tanzer is a member of the Oxford Club Wealth Advisory Panel and a lawyer in Vail, Colorado limiting his practice to wealth preservation and asset protection planning. He is the author of the book and video package How to Legally Protect Your Assets, or by calling 800-220-6777. David Tanzer can be personally reached at 970-476-6100 or