Asset Protection Articles
by Robert J. Mintz, J.D. LL.M
This is a collection of over 50 articles on asset protection topics by attorney Robert J. Mintz. The topics include domestic and offshore asset protection planning, Cook Islands Trusts, Opportunities and dangers of Family Limited Partnerships, LLC’s to protect real estate investments, Piercing the LLC veil, The best asset protection plan for physicians and answers to key asset protection questions.
“Asset Protection Lawyer: Duty of Secrecy” July 2018 – When you establish your plan, your asset protection lawyer will generally request details about your financial circumstances. You will generally be asked by your attorney to describe or document your specific assets and liabilities. This is a prudent approach because asset protection law requires that attorneys make a reasonable determination of a client’s solvency and motives to assess the planning options which are legally permitted and which are most appropriate for the client.
“Need Asset Protection? Lawyer Up!” July 2018 – An asset protection lawyer is crucial to any successful plan for protecting assets from judgments in California. The success or failure of an asset protection plan often turns on the client’s motives for establishing the plan and the laws concerning attorney-client privilege may play a key role in determining the outcome of a case.
“Advantages of Irrevocable Trusts for Asset Protection”. May 2018 – Irrevocable trusts are the most popular strategy to protect assets from judgments. Trust law allows great flexibility in the design and operation of the trust, creating significant asset protection and tax planning opportunities. An irrevocable trust is the key strategy for protecting assets from legal judgments. It is distinguished from a revocable trust which provides estate planning benefits but not asset protection or tax advantages.
“Asset Protection Solutions” – PhysiciansMoneyDigest – June 2015 – The best asset protection plans are those designed to solve a specific problem. There are a wide variety of legal tools which can be used to minimize liability risks and the appropriate plan is one which is designed specifically to address the current and likely future needs of the client
“Cook Islands Trusts: Prudent Planning or Tool for Scoundrels?” – PhysiciansMoneyDigest – February 2014 – The Cook Islands is a popular offshore haven, offering unique asset protection and privacy benefits for wealthy individuals throughout the world. Those with high liability risks, such as physicians, real estate developers and business owners often put assets into Cook Islands Trusts to shield their wealth from potential lawsuits and claims. At the same time, complaints are growing that these trusts are a favorite of corrupt politicians and other lawbreakers, taking advantage of these laws to hide and protect illegal funds. Are Cook Islands Trusts a legitimate planning technique or an international haven for criminals stashing their gains?
“New State Laws Allow Residents to Shield Assets From Creditors” PhysiciansMoneyDigest – April 2013 – A growing number of states have enacted laws permitting residents to legally shield their homes, savings and other assets from potential claims of creditors. As of March 20, 2013, Ohio becomes the 15th state to allow property and savings to be sheltered from lawsuits and creditor collection actions – a relief for many individuals, small businesses owners and professionals, concerned about the threat of personal or business liability risks.
“Family Partnership – A Powerful Planning Tool” – PhysiciansMoneyDigest – March 2013 – A Family Partnership is a sophisticated financial planning tool which accomplishes a variety of valuable business, asset protection and estate planning goals. The Family Partnership is usually formed as a Limited Partnership and that’s why it is also known as a Family Limited Partnership. By law it has two types of members, general partners and limited partners. The general partners are responsible for managing the partnership’s administrative and business affairs and have full liability for all obligations and debts of the partnership.
“Profit Shifting to Reduce Taxes” PhysiciansMoneyDigest – May 2012 -Businesses and wealthy individuals often reduce their overall tax burden by holding assets or conducting business operations in low or no tax jurisdictions. This may be done through overseas transactions or domestically by taking advantage of tax laws in low or no tax states.
“Are Secret Accounts and Offshore Havens Gone for Good?” – PhysiciansMoneyDigest – February 2012 – Secret accounts in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, invisible to the prying eyes of tax collectors, creditors and future ex-spouses have long been attractive cash magnets for the super rich and even the merely wealthy. But now, for U.S. residents, these anonymous and private accounts have been closed down and probably shuttered for good as the U.S Government battles budget deficits and tax evasion with a renewed and vigorous attack against the bank secrecy havens.
“Piercing the LLC Veil” – PhysiciansMoneyDigest – January 2012 – Many physicians use Limited Liability Companies to hold investment assets such as equipment and real estate or to operate a business outside of their practice. LLC’s are generally easier to form than corporations, have fewer formal operating requirements and offer a greater variety of tax planning options.
“Strategic Default: Protecting Assets” – Physician’sMoneyDigest October 2011 – It seems like most of our physician clients were active real estate buyers and investors when times were good. Now, they’ve been hit hard by the market crash, with property values sinking below the amount of their loans. The real estate website Zillow.com, recently estimated that 28% of all mortgaged homes had a negative equity. And that number is substantially higher in the hardest hit regions of California, Florida and the Southwest.
“S-Corps As Tax Shelters” – MDNetGuide March 2011 – Many physicians and other professionals use S-Corporations (S-Corp) to conduct their practice. For a number of reasons this is often a good idea. An S-Corp can help limit personal liability – not from medical malpractice claims – but from other obligations of the corporation. For example if your corporation leases office space or equipment…
“How To Make Money in the Litigation Game” – MDNetGuide January 2011 – The biggest obstacle to filing a lawsuit has always been money. Lawsuits cost a lot and most people just can’t afford it. When legal fees are added to the costs of consultants and expert witnesses all but the wealthiest few would be hard pressed to cover the ongoing expenses of even the most routine business dispute or injury case. Medical malpractice cases, in particular, are often among the most expensive for a plaintiff.
“Do Your Kids Need Asset Protection” – MDNetGuide November 2010 – As part of the political debate about tax cuts and estate tax, a type of trust known as a Dynasty Trust has received a barrage of criticism from those who claim that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of the taxes. A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times complained that Dynasty Trusts created a powerful new “aristocracy” whose wealth is protected and untaxed for generations into the future. Sounds appealing right?
“New Case Highlights LLC Dangers” – MDNetGuide September 2010 – In a surprise move last month, the Florida Supreme Court overturned key features of the state’s Limited Liability Company law, leaving many experts scrambling for explanations and raising the issue of how particular asset protection strategies may be impacted by the decision. In this article we examine the legal developments leading up to the Court’s decision and pose the question of the proper role LLC’s should play in your business and asset protection planning.
“Asset Protection and Estate Planning With the Family Savings Trust” – MDNetGuide July 2010 – An increasingly popular tool used for asset protection and estate planning is known as The Family Savings Trust. The term is broadly descriptive of a trust designed specifically to hold and protect a variety of assets against lawsuits and business risks. It can be very flexible in form and allows for the accomplishment of most important asset protection and estate planning goals.
“Advanced Planning Can Cut Liability Risks” – MDNetGuide May 2010 – A prospective client (Richard) asked for my help with a difficult legal and financial problem. I’ve changed the details slightly but here is the gist of the matter. Richard is a physician, earning a solid living and in 2005 he purchased an office building near Philadelphia that was leased entirely to the State of Pennsylvania.
“What Are Your Lawsuit Risks?” – MDNetGuide March 2010 – The specific structure of the asset protection plan which is developed for you must involve a consideration of the details particular to your situation. The type of plan that works well..
“How the Financial Pros are Protecting Their Assets” – MDNetGuide January 2010 During the past year of financial turmoil we have seen a clear refocusing of attention on strategies to minimize financial and liability risks. In almost every area, real estate prices are down, financing is difficult or impossible and beyond merely losing a substantial investment..
“More and Better Patient Information=More Lawsuits for Physicians“”- MDNetGuide November 2009 – A recent lawsuit against the major pharmacy chains highlights the liability risks of having too much information about a patient. Essentially, the more information you have at your desktop computer, the more you know or really should know about your patient..
“Loser Pays – How to Avoid Frivolous Lawsuits” – MDNetGuide September 2009 -The outline of a new health care plan is taking shape but the issue of litigation and tort reform has not been solved by this legislation. While there’s not much debate among health care providers that the direct and indirect costs of litigation and the threat..
“What is the Best Asset Protection Plan for Physicians” – MDNetGuide July 2009 -In our initial discussions with a client these questions always comes up “What’s the best asset protection plan?” “Are there any plans which are completely bulletproof?” Like any well trained professional I usually ..
“How to Protect Yourself in a Lawsuit” – MDNetGuide May 2009 – I’ve been getting more calls than usual from clients who want to discuss litigation strategy for potential lawsuits they are considering filing, usually against a business associate or insurance company. I’ve written extensively about the risks of …
“Where to Shelter Your Money” – MDNetGuide March 2009 – All of the largest US financial institutions are on government life support. Smaller banks, those not too big to fail, are obliging daily collapsing under the weight of plunging real estate values and worthless loans. Other than US Treasury debt, with near zero interest rates, it seems like there aren’t many safe places .
“Answers to Key Asset Protection Questions” – MDNetGuide January 2009 – When I sit with clients to prepare or review their estate planning and asset protection goals a wide variety of questions and issues arise: What plan is most efficient? How are tax savings created? How do we protect against lawsuit and.
“Asset Protection for Hard Times” – MDNetGuide November 2008 – The turmoil in the financial markets together with a steep recession is hitting most of my clients pretty hard. Some have lost more than half of their retirement savings by the plunge in both stocks and real estate values. And with business down almost everywhere many are concerned about.
“Asset Protection: Needs Change Over Time” – MDNetGuide September 2008 – The type of asset protection planning you need depends on where you are in your career. Because the amount and form of your investments and the particular risks you face will vary over time, your initial planning should be.
“Key Issues in Physicians Partnerships” – MDNetGuide July 2008 – If you have partners in your medical practice it’s a good idea to decide now, how the value of the practice will be divided if a partner leaves for any reason. There are a host of circumstances which can disrupt a partnership, including….
“What You Should Ask About Your Investments” – MDNetGuide May 2008 – With the markets bouncing around and the stock market mostly down, clients are expressing concern about the safety of their investments and the performance of their financial advisors. “Why am I paying this guy 1% a year to lose my money? I could…
“Planning for the New Tax Laws” MDNetGuide March 2008 – It’s now clear that regardless of the outcome of this year’s Presidential contest, taxes on your income and savings will increase substantially over the next few years. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will expire in 2010 and there is no longer any serious political support for extending these breaks. Senator’s Clinton and Obama have declared.
“How to Avoid Common Pitfalls When Buying Life Insurance” MDNetGuide January 2008 – Life insurance can be a key element of an effective estate tax strategy. However, when devising estate plans with clients we often find their current policies accomplish little or nothing in terms of future tax savings. It is not uncommon to find that the actual benefits.
“When is it Too Late for Asset Protection?” MDNetGuide November 2007 – One of life’s ironies is that the worst time for asset protection planning is when you really feel like you need it the most. Although the law favors and encourages asset protection in most circumstances, there comes a point in financial transactions and legal proceedings when it is no longer permitted.
“Why Hedge Funds Are a Losing Bet” MDNetGuide September 2007 Are hedge funds a smart choice for today’s investor? Hedge funds have certainly been in the news a lot lately. You’ve no doubt heard about the woes of the subprime market, but no one knows at this point how wide and how deep this iceberg will turn out to be.
“Asset Protection for Patients” MDNetGuide July 2007 In a new and ironic twist, a growing number of individuals are now legally protecting themselves from their doctors. The idea may be surprising, but with rapidly disappearing health coverage, medical expenses are now.
“The New Tort Reform: Should Asset Protection Be Illegal?” MDNetGuide May 2007 It appears certain now that advocates of tort reform, seeking to limit lawsuits and cap negligence awards, have lost the battle in Congress and no substantive improvements appear anywhere on the political horizon.
“Coping With the New Estate Tax” MDNetGuide March 2007 The estate tax looks like it’s here to stay, so for most, careful planning to minimize the impact should be considered. The political shift in Congress has likely doomed any hope for complete.
“Protecting Against Real Estate Losses” MDNetGuide November 2006 The types of issues raised by my clients are often a reliable indicator of major changes in the economy. What we are hearing at this point is that the decline in property values is beginning to have a serious impact.
“How to Find a Tax Shelter” MDNetGuide September 2006 Solid tax planning is almost always a worthwhile goal. While other business expenses, such as payroll, advertising and software, are intended to produce greater income and assets, money spent on taxes return zero economic benefit.
“Valuing Your Medical Practice – How to Avoid Dangerous Traps and Pitfalls” MDNetGuide July 2006 In the last issue of MDNet Guide I discussed some of the issues associated with determining the amount of spousal support which might be awarded in a divorce. Now let’s look at how a medical practice is valued.
“Unique Issues for Physicians in Marital Dissolutions” MDNetGuide May 2006 A few weeks ago I was researching some divorce issues for a physician client. I was looking at the financial impact of various settlement alternatives.
“Pros and Cons of Professional Corporations: What’s Best for Your Practice” MDNetGuide March 2006 One of my clients recently asked about the best way to conduct his medical practice. For a number of years he was in solo practice but was now considering joining with another physician. He wanted to know how to organize his practice…
“Asset Protection and the New Bankruptcy Act: Retirement Plans and Asset Protection Trusts” MDNetGuide January 2006 The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (the “Act”), which became effective in October 2005, affects the treatment of retirement plans and certain types of trusts used as part of many asset protection strategies…
“Protecting Your Assets Under the New Bankruptcy Act” MDNetGuide November 2005 Strategies for protecting homes and savings from lawsuit risks have been affected by sweeping changes in The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. For physicians concerned with the issue of minimizing legal exposure, some…
“Lawsuit Protection for Rental Real Estate” MDNetGuide September 2005 Ownership of rental properties has become a popular investment strategy during the real estate boom of the last ten years. More than ever, our client’s holdings consist of apartments, office buildings, shopping centers, and single-family houses for rent…
“Protecting Your Home From Lawsuit Risk” MDNetGuide May 2005 The family home represents most people’s largest source of wealth and personal savings. In many parts of the country, dramatic increases in housing prices have made real estate the new investment of choice over the stock market and other traditional vehicles…
“Trusts for Estate Planning and Asset Protection: A Lawyer’s Inside View” MDNetGuide March 2005 One of the most important tools for both business and personal planning is the legal arrangement known as a trust. Although many forms of trusts, such as Living Trusts and Life Insurance Trusts, have been popular for many years and are fairly common in most estate plans, many people do not understand how their trusts work or the benefits trusts can provide…
“Self Insurance: Does It Ever Make Sense?” MDNetGuide January 2005 A pressing question physicians must answer these days is what to do about the cost of malpractice insurance premiums. For many physicians squeezed by Medicare and HMO cost cutting, malpractice costs are devouring an ever larger share of their income. Sometimes the premiums are just too expensive to afford or insurance might be unavailable at any price…
“Is Offshore the Right Asset Protection Choice?” MDNetGuide November 2004 One of the first things, most clients ask when we begin mapping out an asset protection plan is whether they should “go offshore”. In this context, they’re not referring to a resort in the Caribbean; they want to know whether an offshore entity or perhaps even an overseas account would be an appropriate element to add to their strategy…
“Avoid Estate Taxes With Family Limited Partnerships” MDNetGuide September 2004 In the March 2004 issue of MD Net Guide, I broadly and briefly described some of the popular legal strategies for asset protection. This article will focus more closely on one specific strategy, known as the Family Limited Partnership (FLP)…
“Asset Protection and Financial Privacy” MDNetGuide May 2004 Advances in computer and Internet technology make is easier than ever for someone to uncover the sensitive details of your personal and financial life. Much of the information that you would not want to share with others is now available and accessible through the Web…
“Asset Protection Planning for Doctors – Shielding Personal Wealth” MDNetGuide
January 2004 Because much has now been written on the “litigation explosion” and so many professionals and business owners have directly experienced its impact, asset-protection planning is becoming as common as wills and estate planning…
“Make Sense of Asset Protection Planning” Physicians MoneyDigest January 2004 Because many physicians have witnessed the impact of the litigation explosion, there is a widespread perception that professionals with accumulated savings are easy targets for frivolous lawsuit claims. The outcome of every case appears random, with unpredictable jury verdicts and astronomical damage awards…