Family Office Law (FOL) offers asset protection and insurance solutions designed to benefit small- to medium-size business owners who face risks related to premature death, taxes, and lawsuits. The FOL lawyers know that businesses often need to keep their capital at work in the business using tax-efficient vehicles. Whenever reasonable, we help accumulate assets in trusts and/or insurance policies that provide protection against lawsuits and taxes while also providing necessary liquidity.
Insurance and asset protection documents are created with help from FOL's affiliated design and administration firms. A plan design uses flowcharts, spreadsheets, project management timelines and legal document descriptions to show the benefits of asset protection planning. Having a clear plan design helps clients see how asset protection planning integrates with income tax, estate tax, insurance, investment, and business succession planning. Our integrated solutions can exempt both earnings and private assets for retirement, but also exempt assets in transfer to the next generation to avoid unnecessary taxes and creditor exposure across the generations.
Very few advisers have experience designing, drafting, and administering strategies that combine trusts with advanced insurance strategies to minimize risks of lawsuits and taxes. The FOL staff members are available to assist CPAs, lawyers and other professionals with proven solutions.
We offer exemption planning that is a safer and more secure way to protect wealth. In California, we often encourage use of Private Retirement Trusts. As appropriate, we integrate Foreign Asset Protection Planning (FAPT) or other types of Domestic Asset Protection Planning (DAPT). We also help clients take full advantage of traditional ERISA protections for Defined Benefit plans. The following diagrams explain more:
We help clients access a state-of-the-art Exemption Diagnostic. This tool identifies where which clients on the client’s balance sheet can be moved to different types of trusts. We produce a detailed report to help make sure the client is claiming all creditor and tax exemptions available. Our sophisticated and effective process is used by lawyers and CPAs throughout California and other states where clients have high asset protection risks.
Over the last few decades, growing numbers of lawyers have exploited new theories of liability to create much more risk for business owners. Aggressive plaintiff lawyers will sue anyone perceived as having "deep pockets". Physicians, surgeons, lawyers, CPAs, engineers, and small business owners tend to be most at risk. Any individuals working with investors or regulators face large liability exposure. Owners of boats, planes or recreational vehicles can also have risk. Even seemingly low risk rental properties often have risks not covered by property casualty insurance. For all of these reasons, anyone with help should consider having an exemption analysis completed to spot problems and clarify potential solutions.
When our asset protection structures involve trusts, we show clients the benefits of funding trusts with Private Placement Life Insurance (“PPLI”) or other types of tax-efficient portfolios. Most trusts generate taxable income, but taxes can be minimized when insurance and investment professionals work with tax professionals at FOL. When the trusts are funded with high cash value "investment grade" insurance policies, the funds can grow tax-free and pay distributions tax-free (e.g., as zero-interest wash loans). For this reason, insurance planning often integrates with asset protection planning. Call or email us to learn more.
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