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Asset Protection for Physicians, Part 1

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Part 1: Nevada Asset Protection Trusts

By Robert L. Bolick, Esq.

This article is the first in a six-part series on simple and reasonable steps you can take to protect your assets. In the upcoming issues You can learn how to protect your home, your savings and investments, rental properties, cash values of life insurance, medical equipment and even accounts receivable.

With the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada dominating the news recently, many physicians are now looking over their shoulders wondering who’s next. Is there anything that can be done now to protect your assets from frivolous lawsuits? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding YES!

Do the New Nevada Asset Protection Trusts Really Work?

Yes! They are powerful tools that can effectively protect your assets from claims of any and all creditors or claimants. In my opinion, every physician in the state of Nevada should have one. Unfortunately, many have overlooked this powerful and effective asset protection tool.

Nevada is one of only a handful of states that actually permit you to set up a trust specifically for asset protection. You own, control and manage your assets. You have full access to your assets. Your creditors or claimants have no access. Zilch. Zip. Zero.

So, what’s the catch? Your trust must be in place and fully funded for two years before a lawsuit is filed against you – not when the claim arose. Therefore, time clearly is of the essence. The sooner you create your Nevada Asset Protection Trust (“NAPT”) and transfer your assets into it, the sooner you become protected.

Can I protection my assets in the meantime?

Yes. There are plenty of ways to protect your assets in the interim, while you wait for your NAPT to become “bulletproof.” These will be discussed in upcoming issues.

Are there any adverse tax consequences to creating a NAPT?

No. There are no tax consequences, period. It’s pure and simple asset protection. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Won’t my living trust protect my assets?

No. Living trusts provide no asset protection whatsoever.

Won’t my professional corporation provide any asset protection?

No. Professional corporations do not protect you from professional liability.

Why doesn’t everyone have a NAPT?

Everyone should. For the fraction of the cost of malpractice insurance you can easily create your own NAPT and other vehicles to provide a huge degree of asset protection.

Final words to the wise: Don’t delay. The sooner you get your firewalls in place, the better. Life is too short to constantly worry that all of your years of schooling, training, scrimping, saving and hard work could all vanish overnight.

Robert L. Bolick is the senior partner in the law firm of Durham Jones & Pinegar in Las Vegas, where he has practiced for over 22 years. His primary areas of practice are asset protection and estate planning. Mr. Bolick has an “A/V” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest professional rating for an attorney. He is listed in “Nevada Super Attorneys” (top 5% in his field). He was named Outstanding Estate Planning Attorney of the Year by the Nevada Business Journal and Charitable Facilitator of the Year by the Nevada Community Foundation. He has authored numerous articles and publications on asset protection and estate planning, and is a frequent lecturer on these topics. Mr. Bolick is a member of the State Bars of Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii.