As the end of another year comes to a close and you are getting ready for your plans for 2021, you may be evaluating are all your assets
Here are many of the common strategies that often turn into costly mistakes (that you may not have considered):
1. All your business ventures in one business. Yes, if you are starting and testing 3-4 different revenue streams, that may be ok in one entity but if two or three are really taking off, why put all of that in one business entity (other than it is easier).
Would you put all your investments in one stock? Probably not. Why? Too much risk. The same strategy applies to a business (don’t put all your eggs in one basket). 2. Real estate in your own name (outside your principal residence) even without equity may be a lightning rod for lawsuits, best in a separate
entity. Too much equity from real estate in one LLC. 3. Business with a partner in the same entity as the operating business that you own 100%. At the end of the day, you make your
partner owner of your main company, which may not be what you intended. 4. Holding safe assets or investments outside your retirement plan in your own name/brokerage account or your living trust (remember your
living trust provides ZERO liability protection but protection from probate taxes). 5. Doing business in the U.S. with your home country entity, not knowing that maybe bringing undue liability to your home country business.
It is a great time to form a new complete entity formation (which we do in all 50 states) as you get ready for the New Year.
REMINDER: In January, the Secretary of State’s new business filing process slows greatly, so give your business enough time to get up and to run for
as early as 2021 as possible.
If you need help to form another entity to protect another business or other assets, call NCP at 1-702-367-7007.
In today’s uncertain financial climate, is there any way to ensure your assets are fully protected?
Many business owners, and those who may be considering a startup venture, are unaware of hidden risks that can erode or even erase everything they’ve worked for with virtually no warning.
Fortunately, there are simple, practical steps you can take. By having the right protections in place at the right time, you can ensure that your assets and your peace of mind are secure.
Here are the top 6 areas where your assets may be exposed:
Operating your business as a sole proprietorship. In addition to paying higher tax rates in most cases, sole proprietorships are targeted by the IRS for audits more than any other business structure. IRS statistics show that sole proprietorships are more likely to understate income and overstate expenses. This is where many get flagged for writing off hobbies as business expenses. This risk will increase with health care reform and an incoming wave of new IRS agents.
Owning safe assets in your own name. Even though they may have nothing to do with your actual business affairs, any asset held in your own names, such as stocks or precious metals, could be tied up (or lost) in a personal lawsuit. It’s a common myth that living trusts or “dba” operating companies can protect the assets or investments you hold in your own name from liability.
Owning intellectual property in your own name. As with safe assets, holding IP in your own name is also a risky strategy. All the time, materials, and sweat equity you’ve invested in any system, product, or body of work could be taken away from you if it’s exposed to litigation.
Domain names. Many entrepreneurs rely on domain names for a substantial portion of their income streams in today’s internet economy. Even something as random as a liability claim from a car accident could cripple your business if they go after your domain names for recovery. Although it may seem like a simple way to save time and money initially, the worst place to hold domain names is in your own name or the operating name of your business.
The ownership of your current company. Even having a separate entity like an S or C corporation does not guarantee protection for your assets or investments unless you have the proper structural details in place. Many “one price fits all” online incorporation services fail to ask important questions that could mean the difference between security and exposure. Certain high revenue and profit LLCs may be at risk also.
New joint ventures running through your current operating business. There are many reasons why a second or additional entity makes sense as a simple and affordable way to put a firewall around your most important assets and investments. Certain products or services may carry higher liability risks, and there may be separate intellectual property to protect.
Do you see an area where you might be vulnerable? You are most likely on great terms with all your friends and business associates, and you might be thinking that your business is too small to be a target, but consider these sobering statistical realities:
There are nearly 80 million lawsuits filed every year!
Frivolous lawsuits cost the U.S. over $200 BILLION per year!
Internet lawsuits are increasing more than ever before!
As the economy struggles with massive debt, lawsuits will increase to all-time levels coming soon.
Make sure your business is fully protected. The basic incorporation steps required to open a business account with a bank are often not enough to protect your assets from other serious tax and legal risks.
This can be corrected easily and inexpensively in most cases, but the longer you wait, the more the risk goes up.
Go to my company NCP, to learn more about forming a complete formation to ensure your protection.
Which entity type gives you the BEST protection for your business and personal assets? Which one helps you pay the lowest legal taxes now and later?
Here are the most common options:
1. Sole Proprietorship
2. C Corporation
3. S Corporation
4. Limited Partnership
5. LLC Taxed as a disregarded entity
6. LLC Taxed as an S corporation
7. LLC Taxed as a C Corporation
8. LLC Taxed as a Partnership
With a minimum of 8 options, there’s at least an 87.5% chance the one you choose is wrong for your business.
That can lead to costly and time-consuming problems that can threaten the survival of your business. Why guess when it comes to protecting everything you’ve worked for?
The conflicting answers you get from paid professionals like attorneys, accountants, or tax planners can often be as misleading as guesswork. Good legal advice might have adverse tax implications.
Choosing your tax position alone might leave your intellectual property at risk. You may be as frustrated as I was trying to get a clear answer that considers your whole business and addresses the big picture.
Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don’t find out that they’ve made the wrong choice until AFTER they lose assets in a business or personal lawsuit or get decimated by the IRS in an audit.
The exposure is just as risky whether you’re just starting or worth $25 million or more. I’ve consulted with thousands over the years and seen virtually every mistake in the book.
Yes, some do get lucky and get away with the wrong structure, but even if they escape an expensive lawsuit, most have no clue how much they’ve wasted over the years in overpaid taxes.
If your business’s future matters to you, it’s time to STOP guessing and educate yourself with my authoritative and field-tested training. It’s called “Discovering which Entity and State are Best to Protect You and Your Business,” and I’m making it available to you absolutely free… not because this course doesn’t offer measurable value…
(Frankly, my consulting clients gladly pay hundreds of dollars for this kind of information… heck… many professionals prizes this incorporation road map simply because it boosts their confidence and credibility in front of their own clients.)
I love helping people sleep better at night, knowing that their assets are safe and their families are protected. Many times all it takes is one or two little shifts to make all the difference between keeping your wealth or losing all of it.
A strategic asset protection mindset will separate those who accumulate long-term wealth and keep it. Most successful entrepreneurs let their big egos get in the way, and they don’t take steps to set up a complex (not simple) structure to protect their assets.
A strategic asset protection mindset is part of this important business equation; you must master two skills: first, the skill to generate profits in the shortest period possible and keep them. Many times, keeping them may be harder than creating profits. Keeping them focuses on the strategy of asset protection. You must protect your assets from everything, like lawsuits, taxes, creditors, and bankruptcy.
This success requires a certain mindset for survival. It requires working backward to think through what could go wrong and how your assets would be affected.
You Must Ask Tough Questions
It requires asking some tough questions like, “What would happen if I get sued, and my business insurance (if your business even has any) did not cover the legal fees and damages? What would happen to my financial fortress? If my assets were to take one direct hit (a lawsuit), what would be the outcome? Would I lose everything? How do I mentally handle being totally unprotected?”
Perhaps you have formed a separate legal entity for your business, and a hit at the business level should protect you at a personal level. How do you handle a lawsuit at your business-level where the business has to pick up the tab?
Does Your Business have the Cash Flow for Legal Expenses?
Could your business survive defending a lawsuit that would require a retainer of $20K and $3K a month for 18 months? What would that do to your cash flow? Is there even enough cash flow to handle that extra monthly overhead?
What about an IRS audit? Is your business being operated as a business, not a hobby? What would the IRS discover if they looked at your records? Would there be large holes and gaps in the business records which would lead to huge penalties and interest? How would you and your business handle such an attack?
Here are the key attributes of the asset protection mindset for survival:
Consider the downside first. If you were in the business of setting up firework shows, you would take every precaution and consider what could go wrong to determine the best safety so that no one would be hurt. Are You Negative or Smart? But in most businesses, it could be considered being negative to consider what can go wrong.
I know you do not want to spend all your energy in this space, but it has a vital role in stepping into the consideration as part of your survival plan.
Do You Have a Partner? Business is like Marriage…
This is a must, especially if you have a business partner. You must consider if there is no cash flow to pay yourself, who will personally guarantee the accounts? What legal issues can you create for each other, and how will you avoid them?
In most businesses, the founder gets so excited (similarly to how you feel before getting married) about their great idea and how much money it could generate, how their life would be different…that if you enter the conversation with a point of what could go wrong, or what if that does not work out…you would be considered negative and unsupportive of the idea.
Keep in mind that being positive and excited has its role and is the genesis of most great businesses. At some point, ideally, in a separate meeting, the downside must be considered.
I mean, consider it first, before you open your doors, sign the big lease, and commit your capital. Not that you have to consider everything that could go wrong when an idea comes into your mind, because you would never get started, in that case (that is an entirely different issue).
Want Results? Model Walt Disney’s Approach
The best approach is to model Walt Disney. Walt would conduct a separate meeting to create ideas (the dreaming room) versus evaluating the ideas.
This was key to separate them because the creative and open-ended thinking phases were not the time to evaluate an idea to determine if it would work. That would more than likely stifle the ideas in the first meeting. The same approach works well when it comes to evaluating the downside of a business opportunity. Have fun with the open-ended green light thinking and plan a separate meeting to evaluate the downside or what could go wrong.
The huge mistake is to skip this separate meeting and let your enthusiasm carry you to signing a lease, committing large amounts of capital…
Separate for success. Putting all your eggs in one financial basket is crazy and irresponsible.
It blows my mind that over 67% of all small businesses still operate as sole proprietorships. I realize the pattern that creates that outcome (comes from a tax point of view and belief about the ability to succeed), but it still blows my mind.
Separate Safe and Risk Assets…
You have taken the first step by forming a separate legal entity for your business. Step two is to protect your safe assets from your at-risk assets. That means stocks, crypto, gold, silver, ownership in other companies (this is a big one), artwork…assets that do not cause direct liability.
Did You Protect Your Ownership/Investments in Other Companies?
Why leave any of your assets on the table that is likely to be taken in lawsuits, bankruptcy, or IRS issues? Many will say, “I only have $_____ in safe assets. I do not have enough to protect.”
Do You Have Enough Assets to Protect?
Actually, the less you have, the more important it is to protect it because if you lost $25K, and that represents 100% of your safe assets, that is more meaningful and impactful to you than if you were Elon Musk and got hit with a $10-million lawsuit.
Is the Equity in Your Home Protected Properly?
The next step in asset protection is to protect the equity in your home (if you have any in this economy). Check into your home state homestead laws to find out how much equity is protected.
In some states, like Nevada, $550,000 is protected; and in others, it may only be $5,000 of equity. Florida is unlimited. Next, separate your real estate, both commercial and residential, from your own personal name. Typically, each commercial building (depending on the value and overall percentage of your net worth) would be held by a separate LLC.
Your real estate risk level would depend upon the overall percentage of your net worth, which would be a big part to dictate whether a separate entity should hold each piece of real estate or if you would have 3-4 properties in each LLC.
Your Living Trust Does NOT Protect Your Assets from Liability, But…
Next is to tie in the living trust, as the entities’ owner, for estate planning purposes. This is a critical step to remember. Why protect your assets during your lifetime and, upon your death, leave the state to handle the distribution of your assets? Probate can be costly and take years, in some cases.
Lawsuit Strategy for Survival: Ask questions, understand the challenge, back to work. What happens when you are hit with a lawsuit? The natural reaction is to be upset, frustrated, and mad!
Most Lawsuits Emotional Derail Most Entrepreneurs, this is the Expensive Part
Typically, you were attempting to do good, help someone out, or provide a quality product or service, and an individual or a business did not see it that way. They think that you screwed them over (right or wrong). Now, you are staring down the barrel of a lawsuit.
Even if you feel right up front, this is totally bogus, not right, and should be set aside in court (which is, by the way, the mindset that may get your butt kicked in court).
You May Become Financially Paralyzed
That lawsuit can prevent you from receiving any financing in your business name or personally, depending on who is getting sued. You never want to assume a lawsuit is bogus or will have no merit in court.
You must approach it with 4-5 ways to attack this lawsuit, what you must do to protect yourself, and provide it invalid. You weIt would help if you organized and prepared.
Thinking you have a slam dunk leads to being unprepared and getting your butt kicked.
What You Should Do If You Are Sued…
Here is the best approach for survival if you get sued. First, interview 2-3 different attorneys on the lawsuit and ask a lot of questions.
Ask for their initial opinion, how they would approach it, how long it should take to defend, what stages are involved, how much is their upfront retainer, what are the time requirements involved, what would have to happen for you to lose, to win, can you counter sue, and should you attempt to settle outside of court…
Get Back to Work and Focus on Your Business
Once you get your asset protection mindset around the big picture, all the steps involved, the time frame, and what your game plan will be, then you can take the most important step, focus on your business, and get back to work.
The costly part of a lawsuit can be the profits you lose from your business because you are distracted by the lawsuit. You are up at midnight, upset at the person or company suing you, and thinking, “How can they do this to me after I attempted to do business with them or help them in some way?”
Are You Weak and an Easy Target?
The worst approach can be to let them see you will make no effort to defend yourself because the lawsuit has no merit. That sends a message that you and your company are soft.
I recently spoke to the VP of a $15-billion-per-year company, and the VP told me that they must aggressively go after every lawsuit that hits their company, so they do not appear as a weak and easy target.
The approach is correct. In the end, you have to be prepared to understand the challenge at hand, find out the time frame, issues, and expenses, put it in your budget, and get back to working on profitability. It’s like a military operation.
Expand Your Legal Budget
Again, as you can imagine, most do not handle it this way, and that is why even if you win and your insurance company pays the legal fees, a lawsuit can be financially devastating.
This will help you avoid many legal issues, to begin with. You may often sign an agreement or contract, and you assume the other party has reviewed the agreement.
You should NEVER sign a legal agreement or contract without having an attorney review it. I know it may take two hours to review, and it may be $500 or more for those two hours, but it can be a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Being Cheap can Comeback and Haunt You
Now, if you are opening a brokerage account with a major firm and you want to review it for the sake of understanding what you are signing, that makes sense. But if you think you will make some recommendations for changes to this major firm, that is not happening. Being cheap in this area can come back to haunt you.
Why Partnerships Fail
It does help when you start a new opportunity with another company if their side writes the agreement for you to review; that is much less than you writing the agreement. I have been on both sides. It does depend upon your position of strength in wanting to get the deal done.
If you are working with partners and do not put things in writing, that is bound to fail. This all refers to you really have a legal budget of perhaps $400-$700 per month in place, which may come into play 2-3 times per year.
If your company is much bigger, that number may be huge, especially if you have employees. HR issues can be very costly, and it is best to run it past an HR attorney vs. your buddy, who has 10 years of management experience.
All these areas are key when it comes to developing the best asset protection mindset for survival. When you develop a stronger mindset in this area, take action, and implement the recommendations. If you get hit with a big lawsuit, it will NOT derail your entire business or ruin you personally!
As the end of another year comes to a close soon and you are getting ready for your plans for the new year, you may evaluate all your assets properly protected?
Here are many of the common strategies that often turn into costly mistakes (that you may not have considered):
All your business ventures in one business. Yes, if you are starting and testing 3-4 different revenue streams, that may be ok in one entity but if two or three are really taking off, why put all of that in one business entity (other than it is easier). Would you put all your investments in one stock? Probably not. Why? Too much risk. The same strategy applies to a business (don’t put all your eggs in one basket).
Real estate in your own name (outside your principal residence) even without equity may be a lightning rod for lawsuits, best in a separate entity.
Too much equity from real estate in one LLC. Especially if the equity is a high percentage of your net worth, suppose you have three properties free and clear worth $400K each, which is 80% of your net worth, that makes no sense to have in one LLC. Remember, your living trust does not protect assets from liability.
Business with a partner in the same entity as the operating business you own 100%. At the end of the day, you make your partner owner of your main company, which may not be what you intended.
Holding safe assets or investments (crypto also) outside your retirement plan in your own name/brokerage account or your living trust (remember your living trust provides ZERO liability protection but protection from probate taxes).
Doing business in the U.S. with your home country entity, not knowing that maybe bringing undo liability to your home country business.
It is a great time to form a new complete entity formation (which we do in all 50 states) as you get ready for the New Year.
If you need help to form another entity to protect another business or other assets, see our packages below, including a video overview and pricing. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are our steps for a Complete Formation for a 50 State Formation.
As we get closer to the end of the year, we may choose to have the IRS start date on the SS4 application to be January 2021 vs. 2020. If you are forming an entity that would trigger a year-end return for 2020.
Feel free to forward to any friends or business associates who may need support to protect their business or personal assets. I really appreciate any help you can provide.
Lawsuits are at an all-time high; there are over 80 million per year! The more people struggle, the more they are concocting ways to extract your wealth from you.
Perhaps you may not feel you have a lot of wealth, but you may appear rich to others. Your insurance policies are like blood in the water that the sharks can smell from a mile away!
Don’t fall prey to thinking; no one has sued me yet, so why do I need to take these extra steps? My question to you is simple. What is your current risk tolerance, given your age and net worth? Can you afford to start over? I have known many have had to do that during 2020.
Keep in mind, simple vs. asset protection is inversely related. Meaning, those are successful rarely have all their assets in one legal entity. Why? If that entity were to be sued, you could lose all the assets in that one entity! Perhaps you will be protected personally, but your business may be gone.
Let’s assume you are thinking, “Ok, Scott…I want to protect everything. How do I do that”?
Let’s take a look at what that structure would look like.
Another separate legal entity to separate your business into two parts. If you are brand new, this is not
necessary. But if you have been in business for 20 years in one legal entity, that means one lawsuit could cause 20 years of business to go down the tubes. You may want to split up your product lines or services. If you do seminars, that may be a different entity from your information product business.
If you have a business with partners and operate through LLCs, each partner should own their membership interest in their own LLC, not individually. Why? The LLC has the charging order protection that makes it more difficult for someone to come after the LLC owner, which is great. When you have partners, even with the charging order, you do not want any disruptions if the owner is sued for something unrelated to the operating entity. A second layer LLC will prevent that from happening.
A separate legal entity for each piece of real estate you own (your primary residence will be a different
approach). If you own rentals in Wisconsin where you can buy a house for $40K, you may not need a separate LLC for each piece of real estate. In California, the same house maybe $930K. In that case, a separate LLC may make sense. California has an $800 per year franchise tax fee so that you may consolidate based upon that fee.
A separate LLC for your safe assets. That includes investments in the market, gold, silver, ownership in other
companies (like any C corporations). For any entity taxed as an S corporation, there are limits on who may be the
shareholder. Only a single-member LLC can be a shareholder. NEVER have your safe asset LLC be the
owner of a risk asset, like real estate or a business.
A separate LLC for your domain names. Domain names are virtual real estate free and clear. They may become quite valuable over time. If owned by your main operating company and sued, you could lose control of your most valuable asset.
A personal residence trust for your home. If you have equity that your state homestead laws are not covered, this may be the best option to protect your equity and not have the negative consequence that placing your residence in an entity would entail. Attorney Rob Bolick is a great resource and referral partner with NCP and covers more details about the personal residence trust.
A life insurance trust for your life insurance policies. This is part of the estate planning for your estate. Life insurance is not subject to income taxes but is subject to estate taxes, and that is why the life insurance trust is a must. Attorney Rob Bolick, an attorney in Las Vegas, would be a great resource for this as well. His number at his law firm is (702) 690-9090.
A Nevada Asset Protection Trust. This is like having an offshore trust onshore. It would be the owner of your LLCs, and the living trust would be the beneficiary of the Nevada Asset Protection Trust. Nevada has a two-year statute of limitations, and when two years go by, you are home free from almost all creditors. Attorney Rob Bolick is the resource for this also.
A living trust. Estate planning is essential, and most Americans do not have a living trust established. This will help pass your assets to your heirs and avoid probate when properly funded.
An offshore entity. This is the top asset protection tool because the entity is in another country with different rules than the U.S. There are NO tax benefits to an offshore entity. The U.S. person would need to pay all taxes associated with it. The IRS is all over this type of entity, so again, to be clear, you must pay all taxes as a U.S. citizen.
Other keys point to consider:
A buy-sell agreement with any outside partners in any business.
Life insurance on all partners.
A Nevada domiciled entity for your business which will add another layer of protection. Keep in mind the LLC will foreign register into your state of operations.
A great accounting firm would be needed to keep the flow of money and tax organized.
A great attorney is recommended especially if you make any changes to owners or officers of any of the entities.
It isn’t easy to protect your assets AFTER you are sued personally. The key is to protect your assets BEFORE you have any issues.
One of the biggest mistakes I have found over the past 23 years is clients who sometimes have that false sense of security thinking they are totally protected with one legal entity.
Unfortunately, I have seen clients lose control of their companies, their personal assets, and even control of their operating business. The goal is to give you the strategies to plug up any gaping holes you may have in your shield of protection to your current and future assets.
Let’s review the basic’s. The first step is to separate your personal and business assets.
That means not operating as a sole proprietorship and forming a separate legal entity like an LLC. Nevada offers an extra layer of protection when it comes to protecting the entity veil and making it harder for someone to come through to your personal assets (assuming you were the owner of the entity).
The next step is to separate your “Safe” from “Risk” assets. Most take the first step to separate their “risk” assets by forming a separate legal entity. Shortly we will cover how to add more separation for your business.
Many forget to form a separate legal entity to protect their “safe” assets, like gold, silver, stock in the stock market (even your cryptocurrency)…where there is no direct liability to you. I believe the reason for this is most think they do not have enough safe assets to protect.
There is no magic number, like once you achieve $100K in safe assets (outside your retirement plan) you need to form a separate LLC. The key question to ask is, “How would you feel if you lost all safe assets to a lawsuit, or action by your creditors?”
If you had $40K of investments unprotected, that may be very important to you, if that is all your safe assets. Also, if you have ownership interest in a business, you may be worth millions, but if you own it personally or by your living trust (which is protected from probate, not liability) you may lose control of that safe asset also!
If you own real estate outside of your principal residence, that should be held by a separate legal entity. It should not be owned by your safe asset holding LLC or by your business operating LLC. To this point your asset protection structure should look like the following diagram below.
Notice that the living trust is owning the membership interest in each LLC, which is ok because the LLC provides the “charging order” protection which is a legal remedy that only (typically) allows the creditor to receive an “economic interest” in distributions from the LLC, not a management interest in the membership interest that controls the company. Now, with the charging order and the living trust connected, you have the best of both worlds.
I find that most seem to forget that if you form an S or C corporation (except in Nevada, which is the only state that has the “charging order” protection for corporations) and you are sued personally for something unrelated to the operating company, you could lose control of your entire company AND ALL the assets of the company, including ownership to your website, bank accounts or any other assets titled to that company.
Many seem to forget even who their website is owned by, which may be their biggest assets they lose control for any online marketer.
The key part is to ask the question: What would happen if my business was sued at the operating level? Do you have any type of business liability insurance to handle the first hit?
Most small businesses owners do not have any liability insurance. This means if your business is sued, your business is on the hook for all the legal fees to defend the business.
You could lose all the assets, domain names and bank account balances in the lawsuit. The good news is your personal assets should be protected because of the separate legal entity.
The second important question becomes: What would happen if you were sued for something unrelated to the operating business at the personal level? Would you lose control of your company? Would you have a new business partner in your company? This is why so many business owners are vulnerable as a corporation where you own the stock personally.
The first strategy involves the use of Single Member LLC’s disregarded for tax purposes to accomplish two goals:
1: to isolate liability to the main operating business (the main assets) and 2: to reduce your federal tax return expenses ( a single member LLC does not have a separate federal tax return due when it is taxed as a disregarded entity vs. an LLC taxed as a partnership would have a 1065 due federally which may be $400-$800 each).
In our example,e the husband and wife have an internet marketing business and realize they do not want all their eggs in one basket with their growing business.
It is typical if you are a speaker from the platform that would be a separate legal entity, also, if you put on your own events that would be a separate legal entity, and your coaching program would be a separate legal entity.
Each business has its own level of liability and forming a separate legal entity for each to isolate liability is a smart move. You may want all the profits and losses of each business to flow to one entity for tax purposes to simplify the tax structure.
Ideally, the individual owners will have a living trust set up for estate planning purposes to complete the planning. In this strategy make sure you separate each LLC for each business on all the websites, bank accounts, credit cards… to run them as separate legal entities.
Let me share a story that shares the purpose of this diagram below. A couple of years back, I had a client from Hawaii who had a very successful flooring business doing about $3 million per year in annual revenue. He had a partner and they operated under a Hawaii LLC taxed as a partnership.
The one partner was involved in a high profile divorce and the spouse (non-partner) engaged in the charging order, again the LLC as one of the assets involved in the divorce.
Even though the charging order protected the LLC’s assets, that spouse was able to subpoena all the business records of the LLC to determine if any expenses were hidden or going to other companies that the spouse had control of. This was very disruptive to the operating entity. Although the charging order did its job, this was disruptive.
When the partner finalized the divorce and moved to Las Vegas to open a similar business with his same partner, we added a protection layer at the ownership level.
Each owner formed a separate LLC to hold only safe assets, and the safe asset it would own was the ownership interest in the operating company. NOW, if either partner had a legal issue, personal, or another divorce, instead of a charging order against the ownership interest in the operating
company, it would be a charging order against the safe asset holding LLC.
This would insulate the operating business from any legal issues with any of the owners.
This same strategy works well with an investment group, with many owners, to require each owner to have their own separate LLC to own the investment fund’s ownership. This would help avoid any disruptions to the investment fund.
In this example, the flooring company may have different divisions, each with its own product line, and a single member LLC may help with the other structure for each division for liability reasons. See the diagram below.
In conclusion, a multi-tiered approach is a very powerful, yet underutilized strategy that can often be the difference between growing your net worth and not having any at all. It is not if you will be sued, but when. The more protection will help you keep more of your assets for you and your family.
As you know, there are over 80 million lawsuits filed every year in the United States. Frivolous lawsuits alone are said to cost the United States over $200 BILLION annually.
Even in this current economy, things could turn and go back down. If money gets tighter, will more get desperate? How many entrepreneurs abandon their business, which was their vehicle for financial success, and now look to a much easier approach…like suing you and your business.
Does someone look at you as their retirement plan? For many Americans, their only option for retirement is to win the lottery or sue someone. I know, not very uplifting, but conceivably reality.
This may be the last wake up call to button up your asset protection plan, tax and bookkeeping, and business credit, so you and your family are protected. Unfortunately, one entity is not a catch-all for results.
Let me ask you these important questions to show where you may be very vulnerable:
1. Do you still operate a side business as a sole proprietorship? That is like playing Russian Roulette with your financial future.
2. Do you own real estate in your own name (separate from your residence)? Even if you do not have any equity, to others, you must be rich and a target. That is like walking around with a big sign on your forehead that says, “I own real estate in my own name, check it out online…go ahead and sue me.”
3. Are you relying upon your living trust to protect your assets? They do not protect from liability! Do you have family members or parents that are doing the same? That is an open invitation for someone to take their net worth.
4. Do you own safe assets in your own name (like gold and silver)? Is it enough to protect with a separate legal entity from your operating business? Maybe it is a “small” amount in general.
You have to ask yourself how you would feel if you woke up tomorrow, and your “small” investment was gone?
Now…that may be a different feeling. Losing 100% of your investments, no matter how “small,” maybe a huge deal to you. It is time to protect them before it is too late!
5. Are you operating a business with a partner as a general partnership on the side? That is a double danger because now your partner could cause you to lose all your assets.
Are you waiting to make more money first…remember, you cannot buy homeowners insurance when your house is on fire…and you cannot protect yourself (very well) after you have been sued.
If you have $100K in assets and are sued for $100K, you cannot form an entity and transfer them to protect them (well, you can do anything you want, but…) the judge will call that fraudulent conveyance and undo your transaction if your goal was to protect your $100K because of the $100K lawsuit.
If you had $200K and you did not mind leaving $100K on the table to be taken, that is different…but why be in that position when there is a better way?
This is only one threat your business is up against. The other is the IRS (and they are hurting big time when collecting tax revenues).
Are your records up to date? Do you have any records other than an online checking account balance? That is not a business but a hobby, according to the IRS. Finally, is your business financially naked?
How much revenue are you losing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Read the article on how to position your business to be financially naked and have an opportunity for success.
July is a special time of the year. It is a time for family trips, vacation time, seeing relatives and friends, barbecues, swimming, summer concerts, and fun at the cabin!
It’s also the month we celebrate our independence and freedom as a country. So this month of July, my goal is to help you maximize your independence in your business from:
Lawsuits (Separate your personal and business assets and form an LLC or corporation to protect you and your family from devastating, unpredictable lawsuits). Avoid the $99 corporations -which is like buying a car without brakes!
Taxes (Operate your business as a business, not a hobby, maximize your meals, travel and entertainment expenses, and bullet proof your records from an IRS audit).
Death (Will you’re loved ones be protected when you pass on? Will all your assets and all you worked for being tied up in the probate courts? Proper estate planning is a must to protect your family’s future).
I’m going to share high-level strategies, ideas, tools, and concepts that will allow your business to achieve its independence and freedom that you deserve.
Remember to put you and your family in the best position to be independent. Even if you are already financially independent, are all your assets protected from attack?
If you are building your financial independence, every dollar counts in taxes saved, which may be reinvested to help you grow and expand.
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