People living in states other than Florida occasionally ask for my help in finding asset protection advice in their state. Its not easy. Generally, larger law firms are reluctant to provide asset protection planning for several reasons that I have discussed in previous posts. Attorneys working in asset protection are concentrated in a few states including New York, California, and Florida (because of Florida’s liberal homestead laws). People in lesser populated states and in states whose laws provide fewer asset protection options will find it more difficult to get asset protection advice.
As an example, I received a call today from a physician in a southern state who was being sued for events unrelated to the practice of medicine. He said he had been receiving contradictory advice; some of the advice seemed incorrect. The physician had no desire to move to Florida. I told him I was unable to provide advice about his situation under the laws of his state. He asked how he could get competent legal advice where he lived.
I suggested that he stop looking for advice in the larger firms and instead seek “second opinions” for smaller law practices or solo specialist. If people are unable to locate attorneys who specialize in asset protection per se the next best source of advice is from bankruptcy attorneys who represent primarily debtors.
Bankruptcy attorneys are sources of information because they understand and have experience with exemption laws of their states. They are also experienced in fraudulent conveyance issues which are usually the most important issues in asset protection. The shortcoming of the typical bankruptcy attorney is in the areas of tax and estate planning. Asset protection plans often have income tax or estate planning ramifications. If you seek asset protection guidance from an attorney specialize in bankruptcy make sure you review his suggestions with your CPA, or if your business is complicated, with a tax attorney.