Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-19-2007, 08:09 PM   #21
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 678
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by CybrMike
There are also other things you can do to protect your assets if someone does win a suit against you. Talk to a good attorney about how to shield your assets and you will get the info. Having your assets in an LLC is one strategy.
Cybrmike, I don't know where you got your information, but putting your assets in an LLC is a terrible strategy. It would have no effect on anything.
__________________

__________________
JustCurious is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-19-2007, 08:17 PM   #22
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by CybrMike
Having your assets in an LLC is one strategy.
Maybe for some appropriate assets would help but never bullet proof.

Here is an old thread where I talked quit a bit about protecting assets from creditors. I think the thread is pretty good and so I won't repeat myself.

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=2016.0


Since that thread, the law has changed regarding IRAs. At that time the law was in flux and it now has settled down to provide what I described above. If you file bankruptcy, up to a million dollars in an IRA is exempt. If you don't file bankrutpcy what is exempt depends on the law of your state.
__________________

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-20-2007, 06:49 AM   #23
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Good feedback... Thanks.


I am beginning to believe that a $2MM umbrella in retirement makes sense. Escpecially for the cost per year... $2mm (todays $) should cover most situations except for catastropic mega-awards.

Liabilty Insurance is an instrument that is designed to guard against financial loss.


I thought that I heard somewhere that juries/judges were more likely to award mega judgements against companies and insurance companies rather than middle class individuals (in cases that did involve criminal activity).

Has anybody read any material that confirms this to exist?
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-20-2007, 08:05 AM   #24
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 325
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Cybrmike, I don't know where you got your information, but putting your assets in an LLC is a terrible strategy. It would have no effect on anything.
Thanks, but I'll trust my attorney who tells me that if there is any judgement against me, the person will only be able to have access to the "income" of the LLC. If you never make a distribution from the LLC, the person who has the judgement will have to pay the taxes from the "income", while never receiving the income. This usually forces settlements of pennies on the dollar.
__________________
CybrMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-20-2007, 08:33 AM   #25
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by CybrMike
Thanks, but I'll trust my attorney who tells me that if there is any judgement against me, the person will only be able to have access to the "income" of the LLC. If you never make a distribution from the LLC, the person who has the judgement will have to pay the taxes from the "income", while never receiving the income. This usually forces settlements of pennies on the dollar.
I would check with your lawyer to make sure you understand this right. In the states where I have practiced this would not be the case.

What I would do if I represented a creditor or was a bankrupctcy trustee, I would step into your shoes as an owner of an interest in the LLC and sell your interest. If you owned the entire LLC I would have the option of selling off its assets. You would have no control over the LLC, the trustee would have control. Your interest in the LLC would not be exempt from creditors unless the value was really small. In some states, depending on the structure of the LLC, there may be barriers to selling your interest, but the trend in bankruptcy law is to find a way to liquidate the asset.

If you look at the discussion I linked to above, some people have used partnerships to try to do the same thing, with mixed success. If you have an asset with substantial value, one way or another a bankruptcy trustee is going to be able to realize on that value.

You might read the thread I linked to above which discussed issues you raised in your post. Also, take a look at this post:

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...31545#msg31545

As far as not making a distribution from the LLC so the creditor is forced to pay tax on phantom income, all owners of the LLC would be treated the same so all owners would have phantom income. If you had controlling interest in the LLC, the trustee would find a way to force liquidation or distribution.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-20-2007, 08:10 PM   #26
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 322
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

I still the think the point of the llc is to as you say "make things harder" I am sure that makes things easier to settle.
I still would really know of some cases to show that the llc wouldnt protect you . Most of the cases I read they had issues with the llcs. Like co mingling funds. Or the one case with the single member llc.

By the way Mike if the judgement was against you
then the llc isnt going to matter.
They can sue you if you were personally responsible.
__________________
spideyrdpd is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-21-2007, 08:38 AM   #27
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by spideyrdpd
I still the think the point of the llc is to as you say "make things harder" I am sure that makes things easier to settle.
I still would really know of some cases to show that the llc wouldn't protect you . Most of the cases I read they had issues with the llcs. Like co mingling funds. Or the one case with the single member llc.

By the way Mike if the judgement was against you
then the llc isnt going to matter.
They can sue you if you were personally responsible.
As a general principal, if a business is owned by a LLC, then you as an owner are not personally liable for the debts of the entity unless:

--you personally did the bad act that resulted in liability. For example, you were driving a car on LLC business and had an accident, you and the LLC would be liable;

--you personally guaranteed the debt at issue. For example, the LLC borrowed money from a bank and you guaranteed the bank debt; or

--you ignored "LLC formalities" and treated the LLC as if it were yourself (for example, no books are kept, you mix LLC money with your own money and don't keep separate account, etc). This doctrine is called piercing the corporate veil and is actually rare.

The next question is whether an LLC or partnership or other entity would be liable for your personal debts unrelated to the business. There also is a related question: can you use an LLC or partnership or corporation to protect your assets from your own creditors? First of all, if there isn't a business purpose for the LLC or partnership or a corporation then a court would probably find that creating an entity to hold personal assets is ineffective to protect those assets from your creditors. If there is a business purpose for the entity, then the issue is a bit complex. Generally speaking, under corporate and partnership law, entities are not liable for the personal, non business debts of their owners. But, a creditor or a bankruptcy trustee will step into your shoes as an shareholder/partner/member of the entity involved and have the same rights that you have. So, if you own shares in a publicly traded company, the trustee would sell those shares. If you are the sole owner of a LLC, the trustee would step into your shoes as owner and sell either the LLC or its assets and use the proceeds to pay your debts. If you are one of several owners, it gets a bit stickier, but if the LLC/partnership/corporation has value, one way or another the trustee/creditor will either sell your interest in the company or, if you are a majority owner, force a sale of the company. If there isn't a lot of value, the creditor or trustee may decide it is not worth all the work and litigation and will settle or abandon the asset, but if there is real value there, the trustee or a tenacious creditor will find a way to realize on that value.

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic
Old 02-21-2007, 08:48 AM   #28
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
Re: Yet another Umbrella Policy Topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Cybrmike, I don't know where you got your information, but putting your assets in an LLC is a terrible strategy. It would have no effect on anything.
One of the best uses for LLCs is if you own several pieces of residential real estate. If you put each one under a separate LLC, any claim against ONE of those properties puts that one at risk, but the others are likely protected (as are your personal assets outside the LLC). As with any kind of law like this, it can vary considerably from state to state.

Asset protection laws vary a lot, too. Some states barely protect some retirement assets and a homesteaded personal residence. I happen to live in Texas, for example, which provides as much protection as any state in the union. As 80% of our net worth comes from our homesteaded personal residence and retirement accounts -- which are virtually judgment-proof in Texas -- we aren't likely to be devastated by a lawsuit against us...but it's still worth having the umbrella to us, since it's cheap (about $150 a year plus the underlying costs of higher liability limits on auto and homeowners coverage for a $1M policy) and it basically provides legal representation (from the insurance company) in the case of very large lawsuits. In that sense it's almost like paying a retainer fee.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 05:25 PM   #29
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 133
I have one for $1M that I bought about 15 years ago, but I also wonder if I should up it now. My assets consists of mutual funds (non-IRA), two homes, and various vehicles that totals about $2.3 million. From this discussion, is the consensus that I should be purchasing 2x my assets? $5M policy sounds like a lot of money! I was reading some of the threads, and then it got off topic, so I skipped a bunch. Plus, the thread is about 9 months old, so maybe y'all have different opinions now.
__________________
retiringby50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 07:25 PM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,382
Quote:
Originally Posted by retiringby50 View Post
I have one for $1M that I bought about 15 years ago, but I also wonder if I should up it now. My assets consists of mutual funds (non-IRA), two homes, and various vehicles that totals about $2.3 million. From this discussion, is the consensus that I should be purchasing 2x my assets? $5M policy sounds like a lot of money! I was reading some of the threads, and then it got off topic, so I skipped a bunch. Plus, the thread is about 9 months old, so maybe y'all have different opinions now.
I used to have an umbrella about equal to my assets. Then I got divorced, and voilá the policy was twice my assets. But I think I will leave it that way, as the extra coverage does not cost proportionately as much as the base policy, so to me it seems like a good buy.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 07:52 PM   #31
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Welcome to the board, retiringby50. There are a lot of threads regarding umbrella policies. Some are collected in the FAQ regarding protecting assets from creditors.

There is no consensus that the amount of your umbrella limits needs to be directly correlated to the amount of assets you are trying to protect. Certainly, if you have no assets the need for an umbrella is minimal because you have nothing to lose. But beyond that, I think that if you have assets that are not exempt from seizure by a creditor, it is important to review your insurance policies and consider an umbrella policy. The policy limits should be based on risk. What is the risk of you being sued for and losing $5,000,000? Do you engage in a risky activity? Do you own rental property? What kind of personal injury verdicts do juries come out with in your part of the country?

Odds are, five million will be high.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 08:50 PM   #32
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
What I would do if I represented a creditor or was a bankrupctcy trustee, I would step into your shoes as an owner of an interest in the LLC and sell your interest. If you owned the entire LLC I would have the option of selling off its assets. You would have no control over the LLC, the trustee would have control. Your interest in the LLC would not be exempt from creditors unless the value was really small. In some states, depending on the structure of the LLC, there may be barriers to selling your interest, but the trend in bankruptcy law is to find a way to liquidate the asset.
I suspect that the law on this point varies from state to state. In my jurisdiction, a creditor cannot become a "substituted partner," and I suspect the result is the same for members of an LLC. The creditor gets a "charging order" entitling him to whatever distributions are made, but I am not aware of any mechanism for forcing such distributions to occur. Consequently, a charging order is not an especially effective collection tool in this state.
__________________
emilylynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 09:07 PM   #33
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by emilylynn View Post
I suspect that the law on this point varies from state to state. In my jurisdiction, a creditor cannot become a "substituted partner," and I suspect the result is the same for members of an LLC. The creditor gets a "charging order" entitling him to whatever distributions are made, but I am not aware of any mechanism for forcing such distributions to occur. Consequently, a charging order is not an especially effective collection tool in this state.

Yes, there is state variability, but there also is federal bankruptcy law which often trumps state law. For example, most states have adopted the Uniform Limited Partnership Act. The Uniform Limited Partnership Act provides that a creditor cannot take assets of a limited partnership to satisfy the debt of a limited partner. Basically, the partnership isn't liable for the debts of the individual limited partners. It also provides that a creditor of a limited partner can "charge" that partner's interest to pay a judgment, and that the creditor will be treated like an assignee of the partnership interest. This does not mean that a creditor cannot take a limited partner's interest in the partnership to satisfy that partner's debt.

Some states do, however, limit the ability of the creditor to "take" the partner's interest. This is where your charging order comes in. The creditor will get an order of the court requiring any distributions to the partner be paid to the creditor. The creditor just sits and waits or settles with the debtor or other partners.

However, the trend (at least it was a trend a couple of years ago when I last checked) is to allow the liquidation of partner's interest in a partnership if the creditor's judgment cannot be satisfied by the charging order. Bankruptcy courts are especially likely to allow the liquidation. Because of this trend and the fact you can't be sure where you will get sued and what state's law applies, there is always the risk that a creditor or bankruptcy trustee will successfully obtain ownership of the limited partner's interest. My experience is that determined bankruptcy trustees do not let go of valuable assets and one way or another, manage a recovery for creditors.

The practical problem still remains, however. Even if the creditor gets ownership of the limited partnership interest, it is going to be hard to force a distribution. Nevertheless, a determined creditor or trustee will likely be able to squeeze something out of the partnership interest.

It is worse for the debtor if the debtor is both the general partner and a limited partner. Or even just a general partner. Say dad sets up a limited partnership. Dad is the GP and is a LP along with his kids. Dad ends up in financial trouble and files bankruptcy. As trustee, I would step into his shoes as GP and force a distribution to the LPS.

In any entity, if the debtor has controlling interest, a bankruptcy trustee will likely be able to exercise that controlling interest and force a sale of the controlling interest, or the entity itself or its assets.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 09:29 PM   #34
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 75
Some very good points have been made here. If I could add a few more:

1. Contrary to popular myth, large "windfall" verdicts are the exception, rather than the rule. Damages require actual proof of loss, and juries are notoriously stingy these days. Sure, it's possible that somebody could slip on an icy walkway and end up a paraplegic, but the far more likely situation is a rear-end whiplash injury where, even with a lot of claimed disability, damages are not likely to exceed the $12-$20,000 range.

2. Plaintiffs' lawyers who want to stay in business typically do not take cases to litigation unless proof of liability is strong and damages are substantial. The cost of running these cases (replete with medical experts charging at the rate of $400 per hour on up) can be very high, and the plaintiff's attorney often does not get paid until the case is resolved.

3. A plaintiff will have to choose between settlement and a lawsuit. He cannot have both. In the event the plaintiff chooses to settle, payment will normally be contingent upon his execution of a full and complete release. Any insurance company that attempted to resolve its own liability without a release of claims against the insured would most likely end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit by the insured for "bad faith."

4. Where a plaintiff's damages approach, and potentially exceed, the amount of insurance coverage available, an insurance company has a strong incentive to offer a settlement in the amount of policy limits. This is because under many states' laws, the company will be on the hook for any excess damages if it does not.

5. Plaintiffs' attorneys are rarely enthusiastic about going after an individual's assets. Collection is often a difficult and uncertain proposition, as many defendants would sooner declare bankruptcy and quit working than have the better part of their wages garnished for the next 20 years. That being so, a plaintiff's attorney would in most cases be crazy to advise his or her client to forgo a reasonably good settlement for policy limits in favor of a chance to spin the wheel of fortune.

Just a few things to think about.
__________________
emilylynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 09:40 PM   #35
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Good points, emilylynn. My prior experience in the bankruptcy biz was that rarely was a bankruptcy the result of a claim arising out of a personal injury suit. And as you say, most PI claims against individuals are in fact small.

But if you are well to do, and have non-exempt assets, I would have umbrella coverage, especially since the policies are so cheap.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 09:47 PM   #36
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
BTW, welcome to the forum. I assume you are a PI lawyer?
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 10:02 PM   #37
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
But if you are well to do, and have non-exempt assets, I would have umbrella coverage, especially since the policies are so cheap.
I agree completely, and actually got myself an umbrella for the first time this last week! However, I would not assume that a policy need cover every last dollar of an insured's assets, because a plaintiff will necessarily have to weigh the cost of foregoing a substantial settlement in the amount of policy limits against the expense and risk of trying to eek out a few extra dollars. That was my main point.

P.S. Great info about the charging of an LLC interest. That whole area remains something of a mystery to me.
__________________
emilylynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2007, 10:08 PM   #38
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
BTW, welcome to the forum. I assume you are a PI lawyer?
Thanks a lot, Martha! I'm glad to be here after lurking for quite a while. No, I don't currently practice, but I was involved in a few PI and med mal cases during the first few years out of law school, prior to getting into commercial litigation. My best friend does plaintiffs' work, so I've sort of lived the life vicariously. Hope to be able to add something to this board from time to time, although these days I'd rather be thinking about gardening than law!
__________________
emilylynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2007, 01:28 AM   #39
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Welcome to the board, retiringby50. There are a lot of threads regarding umbrella policies.

There is no consensus that the amount of your umbrella limits needs to be directly correlated to the amount of assets you are trying to protect. The policy limits should be based on risk. What is the risk of you being sued for and losing $5,000,000? Do you engage in a risky activity? Do you own rental property? What kind of personal injury verdicts do juries come out with in your part of the country?

Odds are, five million will be high.
Thanks! I did read through some threads but will continue as well since there is so much material... one of my other question has to do with paying off the mortgage or not, BUT I'm already smart enough not to ask! I'll read through some of the old threads instead.

Of course, as a conservative, law-abiding person, I'm thinking that I won't ever be in a situation where someone will sue me for something, but one never knows. I do have 1 rental property (single family home), I have a child who will be of driving age in several years, and I live in litigious CA. I'll look into a $2M instead.
__________________
retiringby50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2007, 01:45 AM   #40
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,382
Quote:
Originally Posted by retiringby50 View Post
Of course, as a conservative, law-abiding person, I'm thinking that I won't ever be in a situation where someone will sue me for something...
Plenty of conservative law abiding people have had judgments entered against them. Good that you are going ahead with the umbrella.

Ha
__________________

__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Drop Adjustable Life Insurance Policy? kjpliny FIRE and Money 5 03-10-2007 11:26 PM
Personal Umbrella versus Personal Excess Liability policies ? Linney FIRE and Money 25 11-28-2006 08:06 PM
Umbrella Policy WanderALot Other topics 10 06-26-2006 02:33 PM
Protecting assets Umbrella ++++ wallygator69 FIRE and Money 11 04-08-2006 10:00 AM
Which Insurance Policy Should I Dump? wagemonkey Other topics 3 01-31-2006 12:46 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:23 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.