Going about safeguarding your assets as a business owner is a vital part of lowering the risks involved in ownership. Most small-business owners are unaware of the potential risks, and of the vital options to protect your business.
What am I protecting from?
Your business may be able to make steady profit and survive on its own, but it must be protected from various scenarios that could suck any revenue out of it. Such scenarios include: claims against employees for damages; mortgage and debt obligations payable to third parties; and consumer protection issues. Claims can be made against the company or the owner, depending on whether they are internal or external claims.
Why is Asset Protection Important?
Any business, no matter how safe it seems, is vulnerable to asset seizure due to the unpredictability of the world. An asset protection plan can be the difference between a business surviving an unpredictable event, or going under. Millions of lawsuits are settled each year with values way exceeding the true liability value, which can blindside companies and individuals who are not prepared. Preparation, therefore, is paramount.
What are the options?
Firstly, you could increase your liability insurance. Your net worth should be fully covered by an umbrella liability insurance. Each policy is slightly different, so find one which has the best options and protects you and your business in the most scenarios possible. A policy should also cover costly legal fees that come with a lawsuit, which would otherwise be taken from your assets.
Another more location-limited option is to create an Asset Protection Trust. These are only available in a few states, such as Nevada. An Asset Protection Trust in Nevada can hold cash, personal property and real estate, and the contents of it are not considered the property of the beneficiaries. APTs are also available in Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota and several other states in varying forms. The best option for those looking into this would be an Asset Protection Trust in Nevada, as it is regarded as the number one state for APTs. It has no exception creditors, one of only two states which do; and the Nevada Asset Protection Trust (NAPT) statute has the shortest statute of limitations on fraudulent transfer for asset protection trusts in the US.
Finally, there are some less complicated methods that can be used. A more simple but risky way of protecting your own personal assets would be to transfer certain assets over to a spouse’s name. This would mean they would be excluded from any lawsuits or claims, but this could cause a problem should you divorce.
The options listed here are just several of the countless Asset Protection strategies you could use. A top tip would be to research and take advantage of your state laws, and find the ideal plan whether you’re protecting a small-business, or your own sizeable wealth.