We’ve all grown up hearing those stories about “that lady” who sued “that fast food place” because her coffee was too hot. Or “that guy” who sued “that brewery” because their beer made him run into a telephone pole with his Ford Bronco. Or “that Lindsay Lohan” who sued “anybody” because, well, who knows why she does anything, really (click here to shake your head at her and sigh in exasperation).But frivolous lawsuits aren’t just the subject of humorous web searches anymore.
No one wants to get into trouble. Nobody wakes up and thinks, “Boy. Today, I think I’d like to test the limits of my legal and insurance coverage. Honey? Get the 4-wheelers out! We’re going to test them out on that golf course.”Trouble is a thing that pops up when least expected. The trick to taking care of trouble is making sure that as many of these little gaps as possible are not problem areas.Without being alarmists, it can be surprising the things that American adults can be found personally liable for. A large lawsuit can boil down to something simple like:
Most people consider insurance when it comes to their car or their house because it’s required in order to get a loan. But renter’s insurance is another thing. Many renters live under misconceptions about the need for insurance. For example, some believe that the landlord's insurance will cover them in case of theft, or their roommate's insurance will include them, or that they are still covered under their parents' homeowners insurance. The truth is, in order to protect your belongings you must get coverage for them yourself.
Protection is a natural instinct. We throw our arms across our children when anticipating a car wreck; we double-check the stove, iron and electric blanket to make sure they’re all off before leaving the house; we worry about giving credit card information out online.One form of legal protection that has been increasing in popularity since the 1970’s is pre-paid legal services, and it is the result of that same, natural inclination towards protecting ourselves, those around us, and the possessions and careers we have worked so hard to build.There are, however, both pros and cons where pre-paid legal services are involved. First, let’s explain what a pre-paid legal service (PPL or PPLS) actually is.
A personal asset is something of value that you own.  Personal assets can include home, financial accounts, life insurance policies that have a cash value, real estate, businesses, cars, electronics, investment portfolios, collections of art, antiques and other valuables.  We may feel that once we own something, it is ours forever and therefore safe, giving us a false sense of security.  What is happening more and more is that legal judgments in lawsuits often exceed the amount you are insured for leaving your personal assets completely vulnerable.
We live in a wonderful country, where we enjoy many freedoms.Unfortunately, one of those freedoms is owning a trampoline.If our founding fathers had known what trampolines actually were, they would have viciously jotted down another section of the Constitution that forbids us from purchasing them. There would have been a block on importing any trampolines from outside the country, and anyone caught making or distributing them would be promptly hauled away or shipped off to some dark and lonely place. But because Ben Franklin never got around to inventing one before all those laws got written down, we’re stuck with them forever. (Here’s a great trampoline accident video – hopefully, you’re already selling yours on eBay by the 30 second mark).Our neighbors had a trampoline while we were growing up, and many a bone was broken trying to ride that metal and nylon monster. But somehow, we kept playing on it. More than that, other houses bought their own bouncing death traps and put them in their yards. Passing airplanes must have thought our neighborhood looked like a green Dalmatian.
When phrases like “umbrella insurance,” “gap coverage” and “additional liability insurance” get thrown about by legal professionals, it’s easy to feel buried beneath the flood of jargon. But guess what?! I’m here to throw you a life preserver, and pull you out of the waters of legalese.And speaking of life preservers, there’s a big one out there, and it’s being offered to medical and other professionals by XINSURANCE. It’s called Asset Protection.Jacob Stein, a University of Southern California attorney who specializes in teaching asset protection, writes about the necessity for orthodontists, doctors, attorneys, real estate agents and other professionals, calls asset protection “a set of legal techniques and a body of statutory and common law dealing with protecting assets of individuals and business entities from civil money judgments. The goal of all asset protection planning is to insulate assets from claims of creditors without concealment or tax evasion.”So, in normal people language, asset protection is like a veil around your assets. Or, even easier to understand, it’s like a moat. With a fence around that moat. And a Doberman Pinscher. A Doberman with a black belt.