Every American adult shares a dubious characteristic—each is a walking litigation target. Part of your birthright is that you may be sued at any time, for any reason, and for any amount.
Civil actions range from the serious to the frivolous. Did you offend someone today with something you said? Did you cause someone to suffer sudden whiplash syndrome in the parking lot? Are you a professional facing a disgruntled client or patient? Do you own a company employing someone who did something irresponsible on company time? Did you err on the side of caution… or throw caution to the wind?
Each choice you make might be construed as “actionable.” That is,someone might spin a good case—or at least a good story—about how you crossed a line in some way, and why you should now pay dearly for your failing.
Sadly enough, the more money you have the more tempting a litigation target you are. And you are an even riper target if you value privacy in your affairs. The “discovery” phase of litigation will put an end to your uncivil habit of protecting personal information.
Well, you could hope for a sudden triumph of common sense in the land. You could hope that plaintiffs with ridiculous claims will suddenly feel shame and go skulking into obscurity. You could hope Congress will start returning cash donations from trial attorneys and embark on a frenzy of tort reform. Or you can seize the opportunity to control that part of the equation you actually can control, and build a protective barrier around your family and business assets.
Yes, there are proven strategies that will ethically preserve your wealth and keep the vultures at bay. Your most powerful weapons in this fight will be a variety of estate planning tools, including the Family Limited Partnership, the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, the Children’s Trust, and Foreign Asset Protection Trusts. You need to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to protect you and your family.