A SIMPLE ASSET PROTECTION STRATEGY
We believe in a small, easy-to-manage asset protection strategy.
You can go crazy with offshore strategies, trusts, FLPs, and tons of companies all running each other. While more complicated, multi-layer asset protection strategies offer certain advantages, they are so hard to maintain that many people just give up on it after a few years, making it a massive waste of money and effort.
High Level concepts to wrap your brain around:
- Do not own things personally.
- Own your vehicles in an LLC name to keep your personal names off the DMV records.
- Own your home in an LLC name to keep your personal names off the county assessor records.
- Own your investments in an LLC name.
- If you own a business, have one business entity that transacts business with your clients, and one for the assets of the business. The asset-holding LLC charges the business entity that is out there every day to use it’s assets. In theory, the business entity doing the work doesn’t really own anything.
These are all very simple high level thoughts. The page you’re currently reading is about overall things you can do not just with asset protection to minimize your liabilities. We recommend you only use an LLC. An LLC is simple. You don’t need a lawyer to administer it. They won’t cost a lot of money to form and maintain. Best of all, it’s just a normal business entity type that is easy to understand.
Now, you could put everything into one LLC or form a separate LLC for each type of asset. We have clients that have a separate LLC for every vehicle, investments, home, and business. We make managing one or 10 LLCs easy. We have clients that just have one LLC that they use everything for.
Using LLCs to function in day to day life, is something to get used to. We recommend forming one LLC to start, see if it makes sense for you, and then start moving your lifestyle into a simple asset protection strategy of operating life behind LLCs.
We’ve written up a more focused page on LLC asset protection strategies that talks about the details and mechanics of how LLCs work to reduce your liabilities.
Why live behind an LLC?
It’s 2015. The internet was made in the 80’s when people had no idea how far it could go. Anything IT and internet related is highly insecure. We hear the story every month about how massive corporations and even the Federal Government lost the data of thousands of it’s own employees. Hospitals, insurance companies, banks; everyone is getting hacked and your data is out there. Drivers license, social security numbers, medical records. The odds are that you have personal information floating around the dark web.
Any company that has an IT person having a bad or emotional day could simply screw up a firewall setting or steal the company data themselves. This is why big companies lose their clients data. They have so much data, and there’s so many hands on it, that they just can’t keep their clients secure. There’s not thousands of kids lining up at college to learn computer science. The workforce is no where near where it needs to be and let’s face it, a lot of kids just don’t want to work in IT or web security. The security of our data will only get worse.
If you live behind an LLC; when your data gets stolen from a store you shopped at, the LLCs data is stolen, not your personal name.
Who cares if your personal identity is stolen?
If your personal identity gets stolen and you own your car or home in your personal name, you have real assets that someone could fake your identity and mess with.
If you own your home or car in an LLC, and your personal identity gets stolen, who cares! It’s much harder for someone to hijack your assets when they are owned by corporate entities than if you own them personally. Ideally, even if they know the LLC name, they do not know who you are that has the authority to run the LLC and they won’t be able to impersonate you even if they did.
But be aware of the possibility of corporate identity theft as well. Mismangement of your business can lead to theft as well.
Will an LLC actually limit your personal liability?
One of the long-standing asset protection strategies was to establish a Florida LLC. Put your assets in the Florida LLC name, and the LLC was protected from you personally and all the problems you may have personally. So for 10 plus years, people made Florida LLCs to protect themselves and one day in 2010, the Florida Supreme Court decided in the Olmstead decision to award creditors of the members, access to the LLC assets…thus ruining an entire strategy for thousands of people. Since then, many people abandoned Florida in favor of a Wyoming LLC or a Delaware LLC. But even today, there are not really clear rulings proving the amazing charging order protection these LLCs supposedly have will hold up in court. My point is that most asset protection strategies are not proven in court… And even if you shove your money and assets offshore, you may find a judge someday that doesn’t like what you’ve done, and get a ruling that makes all the corporate structuring and shuffling you’ve done for years completely worthless.
Steps to start a simple asset protection plan:
- Find a company you can trust with your personal contact details.
- Start your first LLC as a personal investment LLC that will own some stocks.
- Form an LLC in a state that does not publish the members or managers information online.
- Hire a mail forwarding service you trust so you don’t get your mail as your residence.
- Open up a LLC bank account where you reside or use a Wyoming LLC bank account.
- Set up a stock brokerage account and take a small gamble on the stock market. This gives your new LLC some real purpose and chance to earn income.
- Set up a new company email address, we recommend getting a domain name and using the domain registrars emails service so you have a professional sounding email address.
- Set up a new phone number under the LLCs name. Either a cheap pre-paid phone or a voip service phone number.
- If you have contracts in your personal name, start trying to update them to:
- The LLC company name
- Your mail forwarding address
- Your new company email address
- Your new company phone number
- Minimize the amount of information you give the world.
- Stop putting your email in every website you can find.
- Stop giving your personal data away.
- Stop posting your home address to the entire world.
- Use your new LLC to enter into agreements as the LLC, not personally.
- Start transferring assets into an LLC.
So in its simplest form, asset protection is creating harder scenarios for data scraping companies, lawyers, asset search companies, skip tracers, and your neighbors from realizing how many assets you actually own or control. The point of our simple asset protection strategy is to keep your personal name off public records. We’re not talking about avoiding taxes or really any other benefits. We’re not here to sell you a bullet proof LLC that we can only hope will work out for you. When someone is thinking about suing you, they will do an asset search. It’s readily available and costs about 75 to 100 bucks through a credit reporting company. They’ll pull your credit and see what you own. The county assessor and county DMV are all public records and easily found. If someone can’t find things you own personally, you do not look like you’re worth the pursuit. Investments in public companies’ stocks and mutual funds are also all public information.
How should I actually get started?
We recommend you take it slow. Try letting us help you form a Wyoming Close LLC. Use our mail forwarding services if you would like to minimize how many people you give your real address to. Use the LLC to set up a business bank account and start putting some investments in it. You can simply create a brokerage account and place trades in the US stock market. Cancel your personal cell phone and go pre-paid or put it under your new investment LLC business name.
We charge $100 to form your LLC. We’re not here to over-complicate your life. If you decide living a life style where you care more about protecting your assets from the world, you’ll get addicted, you’ll get better, and you’ll form more LLCs to keep things more separated. But worst case with our asset protection strategy; if you hate the whole concept, you’re out $327 bucks. Not thousands and thousands of dollars like many plans you might get sold. If you really get excited after a few years, then you can move on to hiring asset protection attorneys to sell you $5,000 packages you can’t understand.
Is this a bulletproof asset protection plan? Is there such a thing? Those types of plans are theories. Simply put, keeping your personal name off of as many things as possible and controlling business entities can create a great situation and a simple LLC is very simple to maintain. It virtually requires nothing on your part.