You worked hard to accumulate the things you have and you should work just as hard to protect them. Here are five important things you can do to protect your Virginia assets today:
- Make sure that your business is operating as a corporation or an LLC. Having a Virginia corporation or Virginia LLC will help keep your business assets (and potential liabilities!) separate from your personal assets and make it more difficult for business creditors to try to attach.
- Have sufficient insurance. The major types of insurance are liability, property, automobile, business interruption and employment practices insurance. Liability insurance will protect your assets in cases where someone is injured, sustains property damage, or sues your business. Property insurance protects your business property, both real and personal, against loss from fire, theft, or other similar hazards.
- If you're married, own as much real estate and personal property as possible as "tenants by the entirety." Tenancy by the entirety is a form of ownership unique to married couples in which property is considered to be owned by the married couple as a couple rather than by either person individually. As a result, in Virginia, creditors of only one person can't attach property held as tenants by the entirety.
- If you have more than one business, or in some cases more than one location for your business, you should consider having a separate corporation or LLC set up for each business or location. Doing so will isolate the potential liabilities of each business or location from the others. The assets of one may not be available for the liabilities of the other.
- Consider leaving one spouse out of the corporation and off the company's debts. Since many lenders and landlords will request personal guarantees of the corporate officers and owners of a new or young business, it is often advantageous for only one spouse to be legally liable on these guarantees. If you have taken advantage of the tenancy by the entirety form of ownership mentioned above then a default by just one spouse may very well save your house from creditors.
Asset protection strategies are best implemented when the financial seas are calm. Are you concerned about asset protection? Call us today at 804-290-7990 to discuss more ways to shield your assets effectively.