Orange County Business Journal

Protecting Your Family: Priceless

Sara and Jonah Williams worked for over 30-years building their fledgling business into a thriving franchise with stores throughout the nation. They hadn’t anticipated an unexpected and overly litigious lawsuit in which they were sued for millions of dollars. Fortunately for the Williams, they planned for the unexpected by combining the fusion of intelligent planning with asset protection. Over the years this protection made certain they paid the least amount of taxes legally allowed while maintaining a level of asset protection against financially ruinous lawsuits.  In today’s litigious environment it’s about protecting your legacy.

Comprehensive estate planning involves both conventional estate planning structures to maximize the amount one may pass along at death, and effective structures to insulate one’s wealth from a devastating lawsuit prior to death.

Traditional estate planning only works on half of the problem, namely passing wealth on to heirs.  But what is often overlooked to the detriment of the client is a catastrophic lawsuit arising during the client’s lifetime costing them all or a substantial part of their assets.  Affluent families and successful business owners are routinely targets for lawsuits often without legal merit because the plaintiff and their lawyers know that the defendant, at the end of the day, will settle rather than remain embroiled in lengthy litigation. Without this important piece of planning in place, well before any legal claim, all could be lost.

Even those with more moderate size estates can benefit from this form of planning. Removing the prospect of collectability from a legal judgement forces most plaintiffs to settle early and inexpensively. Clients want to hold on to what they have worked so hard for over the years to protect their families.

We specialize in both reducing death taxes and establishing “firewall” protection to dissuade catastrophic lawsuits and encourage early settlements. Our firm was one of the early pioneers to use offshore asset protection trusts (APT) to create more robust estate planning structures which discourage frivolous lawsuits and other opportunistic litigants.

Over the years we have worked with colleagues to create, uncover and develop unique structures to protect clients. One client, who accrued over $200 million from his managed care concern, commented, “We’ve worked with Jeff for over 25 years and have been at the forefront of financial planning. Jeffrey Verdon has an uncanny ability to find rare people who have rare ideas that others simply haven’t thought of.”

Some people wonder if going offshore is illegal. The IRS wouldn’t print all of the forms one is required to file if going offshore was a crime. The goal of asset protection removes the economic incentive for new creditors to go after assets that are securely in a trust.

Attorneys at some of the most sophisticated large firms in the country continue to have confidence in our creative and successful strategies. These firms have come to understand the knack we have to find a continuous stream of novel ways to secure their clients’ legacies. It can be difficult for large firms to perform asset protection work because of potential conflicts of interest.

“The ultimate goal is reduction of taxes and protection of assets from future creditors,” Daniel J. Callahan, of Callahan & Blaine, said.  “Jeff is very bright; he knows a lot of angles.”

We look forward to the opportunity to speak with those interested in protecting their assets and family legacy. For over 30 years we have been the fusion of planning and protection.

Posted in Client Alert, Orange County Business Journal.