Our Two-Part Program
Our program can essentially be broken up into two parts: 1) Asset Protection and 2) Estate Planning.
In order to protect your assets from law suits, we break them up into various business entities. There are at least three ways in which our structure protects your assets. First, placing your assets into different business entities offers an extra level of privacy so that it is difficult for someone hunting for easy money to ascertain the assets that you actually possess. Since those assets are owned by a business rather than by you personally, a search under your name will not easily reveal the extent of your assets.
Second, our structure makes it nearly impossible for a law suit to be successful. An Alaska Management LLC is the best protection available. Although there are a few other states with similar protections (most notably Delaware, Nevada, and recently Ohio), Alaska is usually less expensive and, at least in our estimation, less likely to change any time soon. Alaska LLC law prevents a judge from foreclosing someone’s interest in the business and liquidating that person’s assets. It also allows business owners to formulate their articles of organization in such a way that they can choose to withhold distributions to those holding a legal judgment (known as a charging order) over your assets. Additionally, federal law states that a person holding a charging order owes taxes on that money, whether or not they receive it. Your big advantage here is that, not only are you able to withhold assets from people who sue you, but those people will also owe taxes on the money they have not received. BASICALLY, THIS MEANS THAT THERE IS LITTLE CHANCE THAT ANYONE WILL WANT TO GO THROUGH THE TIME AND EXPENSE OF SUING YOU. The main driver behind law suits is money. If there is no money to get, there is no law suit.
Third, there are some big potential tax advantages to this structure. These are things that our CPA can explain in more detail, but some advantages include income shifting, expense write-offs for leasing equipment and office space, renting out your home tax-free to your business for 14 days a year, etc.
The estate planning portion of our package consists of four types of documents: the trust document itself, a special type of last will and testament known as a pour-over will, durable powers of attorney, and a living will. The trust and other documents will manage your assets at the time of your death, but do not serve an asset protection function, per se, while you are still alive. I like to think of estate planning as post-mortal asset protection for the sake of your posterity and other beneficiaries.