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In an increasingly litigious and greedy society, you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to be sued.
Are you a juicy target for a lawsuit? You may not think so. It’s true that you have a few assets-a small thriving business (emphasis on small), a home that’s nice but far from ostentatious, an income that’s, well, respectable-but wealthy? No. Wealthy is the Hollywood plastic surgeon or the dot.com gazillionaire who made a killing in the ’90s. Wealthy is Bill Gates. Those are the people who should worry about asset protection, not some small-town entrepreneur who puts in twelve-hour workdays, and coaches Little League on Saturdays. Right?
“Absolutely wrong,” says Douglass S. Lodmell, and adds, “people think that only the super-wealthy, those with more than $5 million in assets, need to aggressively guard against lawsuits. Just the opposite is true. If someone with a small ‘fortune’ of a million dollars or so in assets loses, say $700,000 in court, he will be severely affected. He may no longer be able to retire. The extremely wealthy person could pay the $700,000 without noticing a change in his lifestyle-especially considering that he probably has a strong asset protection plan in place already.”
But what about someone like you? Are you really likely to get sued? The harsh reality is that many, if not most, of the 70,000 civil lawsuits filed every day in America target small business owners and Americans with less than $1 million in net worth. And at L&L, where we serve clients who might be described as “comfortable but not extravagantly rich”-we believe assuming you won’t be on the losing end of litigation is a risky gamble.
The best way to protect yourself is to take legal steps to make yourself unattractive to potential predators. There are solid legal structures you can, and should explore. And good asset protection professional, one with solid reputation and experience, can guide you in weaving together a series of increasingly protective legal shields that serve to deny unwanted access to your money.
Tips To Avoid A Lawsuit
Perhaps these tips bring to mind the oft-quoted adage, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. That’s pretty accurate, says Lodmell. There are plenty of greed-blinded, entitlement-minded predators out there who are all too willing to separate you from your hard-earned money. Protect yourself as best you can-but don’t let fear and cynicism become your defining characteristics.