“Whatever your worth, if that’s what you’ve got, it’s everything and you’ve got to protect it.”
— Eric Lanigan, Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L.
Winter Park, Florida, business attorneys Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan have extensive courtroom experience handling asset protection and other complex business litigation.
Eric explains that asset protection is not about lying and hiding assets in offshore accounts. That’s a common misunderstanding. Asset protection says, “this is exactly where everything is, and you can’t touch it.”
What is Asset Protection?
Asset protection is the legal protection of your business, property and revenue.
Proper asset protection does not mean you’re hiding assets. Asset protection is allowed and encouraged using honest and legal concepts and tactics.
Proper asset protection means your creditors and litigators can view your assets, but cannot access them.
Every business has assets, but some assets are taken for granted, or left unprotected and never is that more apparent than when a business is sued. A lawsuit puts those business assets at risk unless the company is structured so that what’s owned is unavailable to creditors in a legal judgment.
Any business that holds assets needs to evaluate how best to structure those assets, so that if the primary business gets sued, there’s nothing available in a judgment. It’s not only individuals in high risk industries, but small, medium and large businesses that should have assets protected.
Asset Protection From Day One
All businesses should ensure asset protection from day one. Asset protection begins the moment of incorporation of the business with proper planning and decision-making provided by the advice of an attorney.
An accountant may have guided your incorporation decision with discussions about taxes or financial rationale. Did you consider where and how your business might be exposed to loss?
Are Your Assets Secure?
Only an experienced business litigation attorney can provide you legal reasons and guidance at the incorporation that should include asset protection. If you haven’t consulted with an attorney in regard to asset protection, it’s likely that you feel comfortable with your choice as an LLC, an S Corp, a C Corp, or a non-profit. But are your assets safe?
Asset Protection Quiz
- Do you know without question that your personal assets are 100% off limits if your business is in debt?
- What will you do to satisfy creditors who provided your business products that you couldn’t sell?
- Can your business assets be frozen?
- Will an employee injury cause you to lose everything?
- Can a client stop you from doing business if they breached a contract?
- What would you do if a creditor placed a lien against your business and personal property?
- If a client sues you for lack of performance, can they take your business down in the process?
LLC vs. S Corp vs. C Corp
When you established the type of business you own, you incorporated as a Limited Liability Corporation, an LLC, an S Corporation, a C Corporation, or a non-profit. The question is whether you decided based on the professional advice of an attorney.
What are the insulations provided in each business type? It’s not good that you don’t know the answer to that question, but there’s still time to meet with an attorney to secure your business future.
Your choice of business sets the financial and business infrastructure of your company. Anyone can start a Florida business by registering at SunBiz.org, getting a Federal Employer Identification Number, a checking account, create and sell products, provide services, setup a website, hire a staff and sign clients.
Only an attorney knows if you’ve built the foundation of a business in accordance with Florida law and whether your assets are protected.
If you don’t know what you’re doing legally, then hire a Florida business litigator and at the very least, keep them on retainer to keep yourself out of what could become expensive trouble. If you’re careless, impulsive and fly by the seat of your pants, pull a lawyer into your office for meetings or retain an attorney and call regularly with questions.
Are You Protected?
Are you protected and are you a business owner considering worst-case scenarios every step of the way? Will insurance protect your business? There are non-courtroom instances where you’ll realize the pitfalls of business ownership and partnership. Do you know if you’re financially liable for your business partners’ debts if there are claims you had knowledge of the actions that led to the debt?
What is Asset Protection?
What is asset protection? Asset protection legally shields assets from potential creditors which is important because unexpected financial challenges from a lawsuit can cause a domino effect.
Whether it’s a lien or a lawsuit, creditors threatening legal action, partners or shareholders embroiled in a complex dispute, asset protection can insulate the company.
If legal issues arise and you haven’t established asset protection, losing your business assets becomes a very real possibility. With no shield, your company is exposed.
The Creditors Are Coming
If you haven’t planned ahead and the creditors are coming, you will need an attorney’s expertise and knowledge of business law in Florida to negotiate on your behalf.
Proper asset protection, established in a business structure from the start, could mean the difference between losing everything if you’re sued or being able to weather a storm. Your goal is to be judgment-proof, to shield your assets appropriately so that you can remain in business if you’re hit with a legal action.
Asset Protection Strategies
Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan provide effective, honest and ethical asset protection strategies to help your company prevent losses that can occur due to litigation. Working together with the Lanigans from the start is a best case scenario on asset protection strategies. But it’s not too late to start now before anything comes up. Set a formal appointment for a consultation to meet with Eric and Roddy by calling 407-740-7379.
Who Needs Asset Protection?
Businesses and people in high-risk, licensed professions, such as doctors, architects, engineers, CPAs, financial advisors, insurance, securities, and lawyers need asset protection. It’s for people who are considered high risk, but not necessarily high net worth. You should start out with asset protection so that you’ve planned what to do before hand just as you would plan a marketing strategy and staffing.
Are You Judgment Proof?
Asset protection can start with structuring the business and determining how to “hold” its assets. The way the corporation is setup in terms of its exposure to liability is key component of asset protection.
Right from the start, a business can be made “judgment proof” just as an individual can be made “judgment proof.”
For example, if the company gets sued or an individual get sued in a frivolous or legitimate lawsuit, your assets, if properly held, can’t be touched and you’re considered to be judgment proof.
Choose Courtroom Veteran Attorneys
Experienced business law attorneys – specifically business litigation attorneys who are courtroom veterans — will provide the guidance a client needs before claims ever arise. A lawyer needs to have tried a case in a courtroom before a judge and jury to know the pitfalls and the power of a jury trial’s decision.
Contract attorneys may well be able to write an ironclad contract. But put that contract in front of a jury and if it was a cut and paste from a contract used several years ago, the company is vulnerable due to the reliance of an attorney unfamiliar with litigation.
Choose Your Attorney Wisely
The attorney selected is your choice: choose wisely and interview several attorneys. Put the attorney on retainer so that you may ask questions regularly while making business decisions. You don’t need to have a 100-person staff to benefit from this practice.
Attorneys Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan help clients protect assets with the benefit of strong backgrounds in the financial industry. Securities law experience and knowledge provide clients the skilled legal advice and counsel that your situation deserves. The Lanigans are committed to helping clients achieve their goals.
Eric and Roddy Lanigan have seen many companies with assets that are vulnerable to claims by a creditor and the claims may be lopsided in favor of the creditor because there have been no steps taken to protect the company’s assets. The companies aren’t prepared for the financial challenges or tricks and shenanigans out there in the business world.
All CEOs Need Legal Advice
All CEOs need legal advice because without it poor or dangerous business choices are made. Not all business owners are financial experts or familiar with Florida state business law. Your CFO is not an attorney, nor is your CPA the best person to explain business law.
Telling a CEO that it’s OK doesn’t make it brilliant decision that is legally stable. Are you relying on the advice of an accountant who is a friend, who is not a licensed or certified CPA, but who you have hired to manage your finances on QuickBooks because you trust them? You should speak with an attorney to find out the liability involved in a decision to hire an unlicensed accountant.
No matter the decision, a company could benefit from hiring an attorney to oversee the placement of assets, taxation, shelters, investments, insurance, contracts, partnerships, and more.
International Businesses Use Lawyers
Overseas, there’s much more of a tendency to hire an attorney to perform those tasks in the beginning. In the United States, unfortunately, the tendency is to fill out the necessary paperwork with the state, open a checking account, file the business name with the state, often without any legal guidance, ever. If you’ve done so, your company might be in trouble without even knowing it.
Benefits of Asset Protection for New Companies?
Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L., have the experience to setup your company or corporation or restructure your corporation, where a creditor or shady business partner or a lawsuit is not going to stop you from doing business as usual.
Many times a company is facing a creditor and these companies could have benefited from hiring an attorney to personally oversee the placement of the assets before they start the business.
Companies of All Sizes Need Asset Protection
When launching a business of any size, don’t just fill out paperwork, open a checking account and start doing business.
If you open a pizza parlor, for example, your company vehicles, buildings, bank accounts, tools, supplies, inventory, can all be protected from outside legal threats with simple planning.
Start out on the right path and securely retain your investments.
Asset Protection Options: Offshore Trusts
One of the most effective methods of asset protection is the offshore trust. Offshore trusts allow individuals to safeguard assets from potential creditors and litigation, while also providing additional investment opportunities with significant tax advantages. Investors can make direct investments in foreign stocks and have unlimited investment options without the restrictions and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Setting up an irrevocable offshore trust or another form of offshore investment vehicle is a legal process requiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Working in concert with Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L., overseas contacts ensure that every aspect of asset protection implementation is done legally and effectively.
Eric and Roddy communicate directly and openly with you about benefits or liabilities inherent in your plan.
Asset protection should begin when a business is launched. No matter the value, the preference is to pre-plan because timing is everything. Asset protection is like homeowners’ insurance: once you smell the smoke or the house is flooded, it’s too late.
Once you’re in a lawsuit or your business goes into bankruptcy, it can all be over. A business facing creditors, bankruptcy or a lawsuit is sometimes beyond saving. Had asset protection and planning been in place, the business could have been restructured and protected from being sued and assets safe and sound.
How Should a Business Plan for Asset Protection?
One of the many legal services Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L., provides is the structuring of companies. When a small company is forming, not only should owners hire an attorney to file the corporate paperwork, but also hire an attorney to structure the company and put certain blocks in certain places.
This is done to protect a company from a situation where they might experience a financial hardship, a hiccup down the line somewhere.
Can an Asset Protection Help a New Company?
Florida businesses should take note of asset protection when forming a company. There are many things a lawyer can do in structuring a company to protect its assets should the company ever get into distress. Lanigan and Lanigan find that many Florida companies could have benefited from hiring a law firm early. Businesses have not been correctly advised on how to setup, how to operate and as a result they’re lambs for the slaughter, so to speak.
If a company wants to keep its doors open and it doesn’t want a creditor or a lawsuit to shut down an organization, it should consult with an attorney for plans to legally protect the company.
Contact Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L., to find out how asset protection methods can protect and secure your business from financial difficulty or a lawsuit, before trouble appears.