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What types of insurance should I secure to protect my assets?

In our litigious society, all of us are potentially at risk of seizure of our assets due to various forms of liability. Liability for debts can arise due to accidents, malpractice, breach of a personal guarantee, and many other circumstances. Professionals like doctors, lawyers, and dentists, as well as business and property owners, are particularly vulnerable to potential liability. Fortunately, there are steps that we as Floridians can take to protect our assets. Our Tampa asset protection lawyers offer some asset protection options below. Contact our office for an individualized assessment of your risks and advice as to what steps you should take to protect yourself.

Identify Your Risks

One of the first steps you must take towards protecting your assets is identifying where you are at risk. With a better understanding as to how you could find yourself liable to another, you can craft the appropriate firewalls. For example, all of us are at risk of civil liability due to personal injuries suffered by others. Personal injury lawsuits often arise due to car accidents in which you were negligent as the driver. Business owners could face civil liability due to accidents occurring on their property under premises liability law. Professionals like doctors or lawyers will likely endure a medical malpractice action at some point during their careers.

Shielding Your Assets

There are many potential avenues to protect your assets, with the best strategy dependent on your specific risks. Asset protection options for Floridians include:

  1. Obtaining the appropriate insurance or upping your limits: Insurance protects us against the uncertain future. All Florida drivers need personal automobile insurance, but those with significant assets should also consider purchasing personal liability insurance. A personal liability policy will act as an umbrella, protecting you if your car insurance limits are not enough. Professionals need malpractice insurance, while business owners must have a strong workers’ compensation policy. Research your insurance options to secure the best and highest coverage.
  2. Use the homestead exemption: Your primary residence may be protected from levy and collections if it is your homestead. A homestead in Florida must be the home you live in and intend to keep as your permanent primary residence. The home must sit on less than ½ an acre if in a municipality.
  3. Form a limited liability company: Limited liability companies or LLCs are one of the most important asset protection plans you can use in Florida. Liabilities of an LLC will be limited to the assets of the LLC, relieving you of personal liability in most instances. LLCs can be set up to purchase or open a business, and you can also have an LLC own your home or rental properties.

These are just three of many asset protection strategies that could help to protect your hard earned assets. Get started with shielding your assets from potential creditors by contacting an estate planning attorney today.