Benefits to Leveraging Advisors

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Leveraging Advisors

Leveraging Advisors
Leveraging advisors is one application of Leverage that the wealthy believe is integral to their success, yet many Doctors ignore or undervalue it. Look at any wealthy person’s inner circle and you will almost always see key business and financial advisors who are involved in most of their decisions. The advisors’ charge is to help develop a plan, analyze how every step fits (or doesn’t fit) into their plan, and help them avoid numerous pitfalls that could arise from straying from the course.
Simply put, most successful business owners recognize that it makes more sense to hire advisors to help them handle their planning than it does to try to do it themselves. Doing it them-selves is not only a bad idea because the client undoubtedly does not have the experience and expertise in all the areas needed in planning, but it also violates the principles of Leverage.
By “doing it themselves,” Doctors would be spending their time sub-optimally, instead of in the desired highest and best use of their time. In other words, does it pay for a neurosurgeon to spend three hours of his time researching a disability policy when a disability expert could do it in one hour? Also, consider that those three hours could have been spent seeing patients and making more money than the disability expert will be paid. And do you think the Doctor would enjoy this research more than he would enjoy playing golf or relaxing on the beach? Probably not.
Finally, what is the likelihood that the Doctor will make the right analysis and decision on the policy? Is he an expert? Has he looked at hundreds or thousands of policies in the past? Why would you think he would do any better job performing this task than would the disability expert in performing a neurological exam?
Despite the obvious pitfalls of fighting the principles of Leverage, some Doctors make the mistake of foregoing advisors and attempting to “do it themselves.” They are stuck in the mindset of saving a penny and losing a dollar.
This leads us to a very important statement that may seem crazy at first:
Doctors must realize that time is worth more than money.
Instead of looking for ways to save money by doing things themselves, Doctors must look for highly qualified people to handle as many tasks as possible so they can focus on the best possible use of their valuable time. Since the right advisory team has expertise that physicians don’t have, the right advisors can do the job in much less time than the physician or the wrong advisors could. Since a job done poorly will need to be repeated, doing it right the first time, even at a higher hourly rate, can actually save money in the long run. Additionally, when a Doctor can pay someone to do what they do best, this gives the physician more time to do what he does best—which undoubtedly is what will make the most money (seeing patients, running a practice, investing in real estate, etc.).

Complexity Demands LePeople meeting at computer - Contemporaryveraging Advisors
We have found that, the greater the wealth of the individual or family, the more important the role of the advisor team. As the client’s wealth increases, the more complex the comprehensive financial situation becomes. As the situation grows more complex, the client’s need to Leverage the advisors’ expertise and experience to save time and maximize total benefit increases exponentially.
To illustrate how complexity grows exponentially, let’s consider the following two situations. The first chart below shows the relationship between two people. The second chart shows the six different relationships that exist when you have four people in a group.

Situation 1: Relationship Between Two People
In the chart above, you can see that John and Paul have one relationship. There is only one relationship when you have two people. This seems relatively easy to manage as you have two people and only one relationship. Let us see what happens to the complexity of the interactions when we have four people in a group. This is illustrated in the next chart.

Situation 2: Relationship Between Four People
In the chart above, you will see John, Paul, George and Ringo. There are two additional people than we saw in the first chart. Doubling the number of people in the group actually increased the unique interactions by 500% from 1 interaction to 6 interactions (John and Paul, John and Ringo, John and George, Paul and Ringo, Paul and George, George and Ringo). Though it only takes one good relationship for two people to work together, it takes six good relationships for a group of four people to work well together. If one of the six relationships is strained, the entire group may have to be disbanded.
This same analogy can be applied to the elements of your financial plan. All elements of your plan, and all advisors in your plan, must work well together. That means that it is at least 500% more work to manage four businesses or elements of a comprehensive financial plan than it is to manage two businesses or elements of financial plan. If you have eight businesses or elements of a plan, then you have 56 different interactions to monitor. You can see how the complexity of the situation increases quickly!

To see how this general theory of complexity can be practically applied to planning for physicians, we need to understand what the physician’s concerns are. Below is a partial list of common financial planning concerns among physicians:
· Managing growth of the assets
· Managing lawsuit risks from employees, patients, and competitors
· Protecting assets from eventual lawsuits
· Managing the investment risk while attempting to grow assets
· Managing tax liabilities to maximize after-tax growth
· Managing business succession and estate planning concerns
· Protecting family members against a premature death or disability
· Protecting family’s inheritance against lawsuits, taxes, and divorce
Surprisingly, physicians worry about all of the More

Asset Protection Myths

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Asset Protection For Doctors

Every day, we speak to Doctors about how they can achieve the protection they desire in order to maintain their wealth. In these conversations, we hear many common myths. Perhaps you too hold some of these false beliefs. Five common myths are:
· “My assets are owned jointly with my spouse, so I’m okay.”
· “My assets are owned by my spouse, so I’m okay.”
· “I am insured, so I’m covered.”
· “I can just give assets away if I get into trouble.”
· “My Living Trust (or Family Trust) provides asset protection.”
These myths are dangerous because they lull the individual or family into a false sense of financial security. This, in turn, may prevent the Doctor from taking necessary steps to truly protect the assets. Let’s examine each of these common myths and dispel them.

Myth #1: “My Assets Are Owned Jointly With My Spouse, So I’m Okay.”
Most Doctors hold their homes and other property in joint ownership. Unfortunately, this ownership structure provides little asset protection in both community and non-community property states.
In community property states, like California, community assets will be exposed to community debts regardless of title. Community debts include any debt that arises during marriage as the result of an act that helped the community. Certainly, any claims resulting from a medical practice, income-producing asset (rental real estate) or auto accident would be included.
Even in non-community property states, joint property is typically at least 50% vulnerable to the claims against either spouse. Therefore, in most states, at least 50% of such property will be vulnerable—and all of the other problems associated with joint property still exist in non-community property states.

Myth #2: “My Assets Are Owned By My Spouse, So I’m Okay.”
One of the most common misconceptions about asset protection is that assets in your spouse’s name cannot be touched. We cannot tell you how many Doctors have come to us with their assets in the name of one spouse and assumed that those assets were protected from claims against the other. This often happens when one spouse has significant exposure as a Doctor and one does not.
Unfortunately, simply transferring title of an asset to the non-vulnerable spouse does not protect the asset. The creditor is often able to seize assets owned by the spouse of the debtor by proving that the income or funds of the debtor were used to purchase the asset. To determine if the asset is reversible, three questions can be asked:
· Whose income was used to purchase the asset?
· Has the vulnerable spouse used the asset at any time?
· Does this spouse have any control over the asset?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then the creditor can be paid from these assets.
California allows a debt incurred during the marriage to be recovered from any community property. According to California Family Code §910(a), “the community estate is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse before or during marriage, regardless of which spouse has the management and control of the property and regardless of whether one or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the debt.”
Said another way, if assets constitute community property, it is irrelevant that community property assets are titled in the name of one spouse. The creditor can attach all of the community property, even if only one spouse is the debtor and even if the debt arose prior to marriage. Because each spouse has a coextensive ownership interest in community property, creditors of either spouse can reach all community property of the two spouses.

Myth #3: 1 Am Insured, So I’m Covered.”Gentleman Checking His Asset Protection
While we strongly advocate insurance as a first line of defense, an insurance policy is 50 pages long for a reason. Within those numerous pages there are a variety of exclusions and limitations that most people never take the time to read, let alone understand. Even if you do have insurance and the policy does cover the risk in question, there are still risks of underinsurance, strict liability, and bankruptcy of the insurance company. In any of these cases, you could be left with the sole financial responsibility for the loss. Lastly, with losses that fall within the plan’s coverage limits, you still may see your future premiums go up significantly.

Myth #4: 1 Can Just Give Assets Away If I Get Into Trouble.”
Another common misconception of asset protection is that you can simply give away or transfer your assets if you ever get sued. If this were the case, you could just hide your assets when necessary. You wouldn’t need an asset protection specialist. You would only need a shovel and some good map-making skills so you could find your buried treasure later.
In recognizing the potential for people to attempt to give away their assets if they get into trouble, there are laws prohibiting fraudulent transfers (or fraudulent conveyances). In a nutshell, if you make an asset transfer after an incident takes place (whether you knew about the pending lawsuit or not), the judge has the right to rule the transfer a fraudulent conveyance and order the asset to be returned to the transferor, thereby subjecting the assets to the claims of the creditor.
If you have been sued or suspect that you may be sued, there are other ways you can protect yourself. Typically, reactive last minute strategies are not very effective and may be much more expensive than the highly successful strategies that can be implemented when there are no creditors lurking.

Myth #5: “My Living Trust (Or Family Trust) Provides Asset Protection.”
There have been countless instances where clients have come to us with the impression that their revocable Living Trust provides asset protection. While you are alive, this is simply not true. Revocable Trust assets are fully attachable by any creditor as the trust is a grantor trust. Later in this Lesson you will read about Irrevocable More