Steps to Asset Protection

Physician's Money Digest, February15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 3

1. Plan ahead. Protecting savings,property, and valuable possessions beforeit's too late is an important step. In general,the courts frown on asset protectionstrategies implemented after a lawsuit isthreatened. Therefore, the only way tobe completely secured is to make surethat your assets are fully protected beforea lawsuit or other claim arises.

2. Find an expert. Finding a top professionalis a crucial component of implementingan effective protection strategy.An expert generally can handle acase much more effectively than a locallawyer with little or no experience.

3. Involve family. Because much of anasset protection strategy involves changingownership of assets and using estateplanning tools, family cooperation isessential. Let your family in on the plan.

4. Compromise. The most effectiveasset protection program calls for you toavoid ownership of all assets. The leasteffective program titles all assets in yourown name. Somewhere in between lieswhat's typically the best program.

5. Review the plan. No asset protectionand estate plan is set in stone. Yourstrategy must be flexible and adaptableto the everyday changes in your life. Ifyou take on new financial risks, purchaseproperty, or get divorced, your plan mustbe altered to account for these changes.

6. Begin today. To reinforce the firstrule, an asset protection and estate planis only effective if it's set up before athreat arises. Therefore, the most importantmove to make is the first move.Overcome resistance to new ideas anddevelop an asset protection strategytoday. You never know. By tomorrow, itmay be too late.