High net worth individuals face a greater risk of being sued, especially when unemployment is high and the economy is uncertain. Now more than ever, many families and individuals are concerned that their wealth makes them a lawsuit target. In fact, 80% of households with $5 million or more in assets believe their wealth puts them at risk.
That risk doubles if they are highly visible in the public, and their lives are a matter of media scrutiny. Compounded by the widespread use of social media, wealthy public figures are further exposed to liabilities such as slander, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
Companies in any industry are at risk too. They can be vulnerable to internal scandals and employee unrest. Even frivolous lawsuits can hurt sales and a company’s brand image. Furthermore, CEOs are often linked to the public image of a company, and their reputation will suffer as well.
If you’re a high net worth individual, you need an experienced Trust and Estate attorney who specializes in protecting assets, lawsuits, and out of court settlements for high net worth cases.
They Can Target You…
Defense lawyers gain more by suing high net worth individuals. Under the doctrine of joint and several liability, a winning plaintiff can collect their entire judgment amounts from any defendant. Therefore, a HNWI is often the target of lawsuits.
Even in the state of California, which requires comparative fault in liability lawsuits, a plaintiff’s attorney will always attach the most fault to the wealthiest person. Moreover, joint and several liability still pertains when applying damages.
Many wealthy families are not prepared for lawsuits for two reasons; they either underestimate the cost of damages they could be forced to pay, or they assume protection costs are higher than they are. But with the right legal planning, they can avoid being served with papers for a civil liability lawsuit.
Asset protection trusts exist for these very reasons. An asset protection trust is an irrevocable trust run by a trustee or trustees, and as such, names can be hidden from the public. They can also protect against lawsuits, saving defendants time and money spent on litigation in court.
But They Can’t Reach Your Assets
If you’re concerned about being sued, and need a HNW asset protection attorney in Newport Beach or Southern California, the Jeffrey M. Verdon Law Group can help. We believe real wealth building is about structuring your business and personal life so your assets are protected from creditors, predators, and lawsuits.
Our mission is to mitigate and manage risk for our clients, and protect your assets from unforeseen lawsuits, so that you and your family’s legacy is safe for years to come.