A newly referred client received a surprise phone call from an out of state neighbor of one of his rental properties.
This neighbor informed our client that his tenant’s dog bit his son. Even though our client thought ‘that’s not possible, I don’t allow pets at my rentals", tenants don't always follow the rules , but the liability still remains.
The neighbor let our client know he was found by looking up public records, along with ALL of the rental properties he owned…four total.
Our client was SHOCKED about how much this stranger knew about him and what he owned, how much he owed, and the approximate amounts of equity he had.
All of this in a ‘surprise’ phone call out of the blue.
We implemented 3 separate Asset Protection Profiles and one property was in the process of Short Sale, so we agreed to hold off on that one.
Our client is much more at ease. NOTHING shows up with his name on title now.
He controls everything but ‘owns’ none of it, yet he can ‘own’ again in a matter of hours if he wants to at no cost!
It took a LONG time for a newly referred client to grasp “Own Nothing, Control Everything”, but after several meetings we proceeded to implement an asset protection strategy so we could start protecting his assets.
We protected his personal residence, but he had more investment properties in which he had more debt than equity and he just didn’t want to do anything with these properties because he didn’t want to spend anything on them. We explained that with them being tenant occupied they were still a hazard to all his other assets if something went wrong, and it would be wise to isolate each property within its own ‘cocoon’ of trust anonymity & protection. The client was unmoved until about 8 months later when we got a frantic call from him informing us that a tenant had accidentally burnt down one of his investment homes, but LUCKILY no one was hurt or killed; he just had insurance issues. He was anxious to quickly put his other homes into trusts. We met and had this resolved within the following three days.
Protection and Prevention isn’t of much value AFTER you already suffered the accident, injury, loss or law suit. Take preventative affordable actions in advance.
One of the most profound examples of Asset Isolation / Protection was shared in a training session on the East Coast. An investor had been accumulating homes for over 35 years and had a stable of over 200 homes in the Connecticut area, about 60% of which were free and clear.
This gentleman had amassed a fortune by his consistent efforts over time, had a fine life style and a massive estate to pass to his heirs, and held title to every home in his personal name…of which he was quite proud.
This investor’s homes were all built from the early 1920’s and 30’s like many others in and around the East Coast. While homes may have been rehabbed over the years, most still have heavy amounts of lead based paint in them and have had for years. Folks tend to just paint over the old paint due to the cost of official remediation. It’s everywhere and accepted…but does NOT reduce the risk.
This investor had a tenant’s young child go to the school nurse. The nurse thought the symptoms might be from lead poisoning. ..the child possibly putting paint into his mouth. Although this was just an educated guess and an attempt to be helpful to the parents, the parents did, in fact, seek out an attorney.
The attorney ran this investor’s name and found EVERY property he owned. A lawsuit ensued AND the attorney CONTACTED ALL of his other tenants to enjoin them into a class action law suit because they might have been exposed to lead paint as well. The lawsuit tied up EVERY property he owned including those dozens he still had mortgages on. All rental income became funneled to a trust account to be held pending the outcome of the class action lawsuit, and he couldn’t sell any of the free and clear homes or refinance them to get working capital to fight the ongoing lawsuit. Ultimately, he LOST ALL of his properties in a domino effect of uncovered costs and no income AND the subsequent judgment he got when he lost the case involving hundreds of plaintiffs – both current and prior.
Now he MAY have still had a lawsuit and lost some funds but with each home he’ didn’t own, but controlled’ AND no one else knowing what he controlled, he MAY have been able to keep the better part of his estate. First, the attorney would NOT have known within two hours of EVERY property he owned AND would never likely have been able to send a mass mailing to all current tenants (and ultimately prior tenants) to ENROLL them into the modern day equivalent of 1-800-Let’s sue.