Common Asset Protection Mistakes

Over many years we have seen some of our clients make mistakes in asset protection planning. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Waiting Until It’s Too Late: Starting asset protection planning after a lawsuit or a creditor claim has arisen is often ineffective. It’s crucial to implement protection strategies proactively, before any legal threats emerge.
  2. Mixing Personal and Business Assets: Failing to separate personal assets from business operations can expose personal assets to business-related liabilities. Always keep personal and business finances distinctly separate.
  3. Overlooking Insurance as a First Line of Defense: Neglecting adequate insurance coverage (like liability, property, and professional insurance) can leave assets vulnerable. Insurance should be the first layer of defense against potential lawsuits or claims.
  4. Using DIY Asset Protection Strategies: Attempting to handle asset protection without professional guidance can lead to mistakes and vulnerabilities. It’s essential to consult with legal and financial professionals.
  5. Ignoring Bankruptcy Provisions: Not understanding bankruptcy rules can lead to the loss of assets that might have been protected. Be aware of how different asset protection strategies hold up in bankruptcy proceedings.
  6. Choosing the Wrong Jurisdiction for Trusts and Entities: Establishing trusts or business entities in jurisdictions without strong asset protection laws can weaken your protection. It’s crucial to choose jurisdictions with favorable laws.
  7. Failing to Regularly Update Estate Plans: Asset protection plans should evolve with changes in your financial situation, laws, and family circumstances. Regularly reviewing and updating estate plans is key.
  8. Underestimating Potential Marital Property Claims: Not considering the impact of divorce or death on asset distribution can lead to significant losses. Pre-nuptial agreements and appropriate trust structures can provide necessary protections.
  9. Inadequate Record-Keeping and Documentation: Poor documentation and record-keeping can undermine asset protection strategies, especially during legal scrutiny. Maintain thorough and accurate records of all transactions and structures.
  10. Overcomplicating Structures: Creating overly complex asset protection structures can be counterproductive, leading to management difficulties and increased scrutiny. Aim for an effective yet manageable level of complexity in your asset protection plan.
Jon Alper

About the Author

I’m a nationally recognized attorney specializing in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from the University of Florida Law School and have practiced law for almost 50 years.

I have been recognized as a legal expert by media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors.