I have reprinted the following column by Jay Adkisson, the asset protection columnist for Forbes.com.  He is one of the top asset protection commentators in the country and knows the asset protection business as well as anyone.  If you need asset protection, or want asset protection, by all means talk to someone who will work with you to achieve the type protection you need. There is no such thing a a do it yourself kit for asset protection.  Heed Jay Adkisson’s advice and avoid these type seminars and especially the purchase of a kit.  Asset protection issues are always state specific and a slippery slope.  Get professional advice.

The Asset Protection Kit Scam Continues To Lure Suckers

by:  Jay Adkisson, via Forbes.com

The invitation may be for free, or it may be for a few bucks. The invitation will promise the knowledge of how the superwealthy protect their assets. The invitation will also talk about the “Father of Asset Protection”, the “Grandfather of Asset Protection”, or something similar. The invitation will be from the “Society for Asset Protection and Doctor’s Education” or some like-sounding group.

You’ll go to the seminar, and hear lots of scary stories of folks being sued and losing everything. Then you hear how this particular group has used their very specialized knowledge to put together a kit — yes, a kit, — by which you can put together your own highly-sophisticated asset protection plan for only $5,000 or something.

At the end of the seminar, the crowd will rush up to the front to buy one of these kits — you’ll be lucky to just get the last one!

And, if you do, you’ve been scammed. As in defrauded. As in you are as big a sucker as those folks who fall for the e-mail from the Nigerian Princess.
Those people rushing to the front to buy the kits? They are shills. The scam artists pay associates to sit in the audience and feign interest, and then rush to the front and throw down their checks (later torn up, or re-used at tomorrow night’s seminar). If a dozen folks rush to the front, you might be the only person actually paying. Shills are a strategy long employed by casinos to get folks gambling, and it is strategy employed to near perfection here.

But it’s still a good take for them, with the kits going at $5,000 or so. At that rate, you only have to sell kits to a couple of suckers to have a really good night.

The kits themselves are made to really look like something. They can come in their own custom briefcase (a $40 value) or even a gilded lockbox (a $60 value). Plus, you’re getting about 5 bucks worth of paper that is worth about 5 bucks. Or maybe $100 since that is what the “ used” materials go for on Ebay EBAY -1.26%, such as at goo.gl/f74voN

Why spend $5,000 when you can get the very same materials for $100? Only a sucker can answer that question.

But even at $100 the price is too high. For somebody to think that they could put together anything like a viable legal structure working from a kit is akin to thinking that they can use a kit to perform an ACL operation on their knee in your kitchen with the steak knife. Lots of blood, lots of pain, but nothing good accomplished.

The usual sucker is a physician who of course thinks that he can do it all himself, and thus save a few bucks. What happen is that he will flounder around with the kit, and then finally give up — usually triggering a lot of unnecessary tax filings in the process. I’ve only talked to a few hundred suckers (predominantly physicians, since this is who they market to) in the last couple of decades.

In the end, what you are paying for is basically a bunch of limited partnership or limited liability companies, and the paperwork that goes with them. Note to file: Equivalent paperwork is often available for free on the Secretary of State’s website. The trick is not filling out the forms, as much as it is figuring out how it all fits together around one’s particular assets. No kit will ever get close to doing that.

In fact, it is very possible to put yourself into a worse situation by trying to use one of these kits for asset protection. By trying to move assets into entities, valuable creditor exemptions could be lost, and considerable unforeseen taxes triggered.

The folks selling this stuff are simply lowlife scam artists, who would be selling mango juice as a cancer preventative if they thought folks could get away with it. Instead, they put on a suit and pretend they know something about asset protection.

Usually these groups circulate across the countryside from that international financial center known as Utah, which seems to be the beehive for these particular scammers. For whatever reason, Utah has long been the hotbed of asset protection scams, going back to the Merrill Scott & Associates days, when an asset protection law firm embezzled their client’s funds en masse. These asset protection kits are just another part of the scam.

Very simply, it is from Utah and involves asset protection, it is probably a scam.

If you have been scammed, the odds of getting your money back are almost zero. Maybe you can sell your kit on Ebay for $100, but maybe not since you’ll have to compete with all the other kits sold by all the other suckers there. Your best bet is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov and with your own state’s Attorney General’s office.

And if you still believe these kits are real, well, then I’ve got a Nigerian Princess that I’d like you to meet.

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