Offshore Trusts – Protecting Yourself From Unjust Malpractice Lawsuits
It’s really common to hear the word malpractice thrown around if you’re working in medicine. However, doctors aren’t the only people who lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to malpractice lawsuits—accountants, realtors and plenty of others are also at risk. It’s not necessarily incompetence that leads to malpractice lawsuits; sometimes, it’s negligence or generally an unsatisfied client who is out for blood. They don’t really have a lot of reasons other than money for filing malpractice lawsuits, but unfortunately, the justice system is stacked against the defendant in the USA, meaning you must be proactive in protecting what’s yours.
For perspective, the average out of court settlement for medical malpractice lawsuits is $425,000 and the average jury award is $1 million.
The range differs for each occupation, of course, but it’s always more money than you’d want to part with. While people do insure themselves against malpractice lawsuits, there is another way to protect yourself; having an Offshore Asset Protection Trust. Throughout this article, I’ll speak of occupations that are most likely to get sued, how much money they might have to dole out and conclude with a comment on how you can avoid payments completely.
Ranking the Careers Most Likely to Be Sued
Don’t get me wrong; some of these might actually surprise you. I personally got a kick out of the irony when I started ranking these based on statistics.
Nearly 85% of all OB-GYNs have been sued at least once throughout their careers. So if you’re one, then you’d do well to gear up because sooner or later a legal notice is bound to be delivered to your office.
While many of these lawsuits are dropped or dismissed, the cost of legal defence averages around $13,000. Defence lawyers say that there’s a greater likelihood of error in this field of medicine than any other—it might not be because of actual negligence, but the patient doesn’t really care.
I was fascinated when I read through the reports and found out that medical subspecialties are actually some of the most frequently sued careers. Nearly 55% of all physicians in the United States have been sued at some point; the claimants often quote misdiagnosis, failure to record medical history or failing to consider medical history.
While it’s not the physician’s fault in many of these cases, there’s a lot of grey area in medicine when it comes to deciding negligence. However, there’s nothing to be done about it but to prepare for a massive payout.
Interestingly enough, malpractice insurance for physicians costs about $200,000—which points out the high risk of a lawsuit and how people might as well just settle out of court.
This wasn’t really a surprise considering how accounting malpractice was the cause of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007.
Major accounting firms like Ernst & Young had to settle for as much as $10 million for failing to report potential financial risks. As an accountant, you have to be really precise and thorough with your job because you never know when your clients might mess-up.
Auditors in particular are under greater scrutiny because if they fail to report financial discrepancies, they are technically accomplices in whatever financial catastrophe that follows.
4. Real Estate Agents
A realtor’s job is to basically present their clients with the best possible deals they can find—to the point that their clients feel like they got a great bargain. What that means is really up in the air and you’ll luck out if all of your clients feel satisfied with their real estate purchases. For this reason, realtors get slapped with negligence, malpractice and all sorts of lawsuits pretty much all the time.
Pretty ironic right? Lawyers are sued all the time for negligence, breach of confidentiality and some other failure to live up to their client’s expectations. Legal proceedings are a very complex process—the end goal is to convince judges and juries about how your client lies outside the bounds of the law whose violation brought them to trial or how they can’t be held guilty of the crime.
While lawyers are trained for years to become convincing enough, there’s no guarantee for success because it’s not as simple as following a manual. Unfortunately, the clients don’t always see it that way and some of them really stick it to their attorneys if the trial doesn’t go their way.
What to Do To Protect Your Money?
I usually suggest this for the purposes of legal tax minimization; it’s perfectly legal to send your money out of the country so you don’t have to pay legal penalties. This isn’t an evasion of your legal responsibility, but rather, moving your money out of the jurisdiction that’s passing financial penalties so they can’t touch it.
In the unfortunate event you lose the malpractice lawsuit, no one can touch it if you don’t have the money to pay.
See, what usually happens if you can’t pay the penalties from the lawsuit, the courts pass a judgment lien on your assets. They hand the liens over to the person bringing the complaint against you and they can use it to freeze assets or use other methods to force you to pay. However, the liens can’t be enforced on offshore assets held in a trust and you can basically spend your money however you see fit.
Offshore trust funds and bank accounts are some of the best ways to protect your wealth—even better than malpractice insurance which costs a lot of money. Moving your money to offshore locations can also get you access to greater financial freedom in addition to protecting your assets from legal confiscation.
If your career is one where the risk of malpractice is really high, like doctors or accountants, you’d do well to invest in an offshore trust for your assets. I will warn you though, an offshore trust is not cheap, you can expect to pay upwards of $30,000 for a tailor made trust based on your exact needs, but when you compare that against the $425,000 we referenced earlier you can see what a bargain this really is.
If you would like to speak to our lawyers about setting up an offshore trust for you and your family please contact us here.
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