"It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a great fortune, and when you have it, it requires ten times as much skill to keep it."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Asset protection is about making you less of a target by discouraging predators from taking what is yours. The general public is under the impression that if you own your own business you must be wealthy, so you must have riches to spare so why not take them from you.
It really is a sorry state of affairs that as business owners we have to take these steps to secure the assets we've worked so hard to achieve, but in today's litigious society leaving yourself open to exposure would be fool hearty, not only for your business but for your family.
Running your own business is risky but, you shouldn't have to risk it all to live the American dream. By forming a corporate structure you are establishing a barrier between your personal and business assets. Achieving asset protection should be the number one item on your agenda. Without a sure and solid asset protection plan there is no need to worry about tax saving strategies.
The most important step to protecting your assets is to do it legally. You have every right to secure your assets and remove them from harm's way but make sure you follow the letter of the law.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket- If you have multiple businesses, investment property, high risk assets or equipment look at putting them in different corporations or limited liability companies.
Insure your protection. Make sure to talk with an insurance professional and get the coverage you need for your profession. Insurance is necessary but not the be all end all.
Document everything. This might sound like the wrong advice but if you find yourself targeted for a lawsuit or an IRS audit it will fall on you to prove your innocence and the best way to do this is through documentation.
This is not a-be all or end all list. Litigation in the United States is out of control but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Being in business doesn't mean you throw caution to the wind, it means you need to take intelligent risk and establish barriers of protection so you don't become a target for a frivolous lawsuit.