Common Questions About Assisted Living – Brookdale Senior Living

What is an assisted living community?

An assisted living community is a safe and secure environment where seniors can go to live a relatively independent lifestyle but also receive support with certain daily activities. These activities may include bathing, dressing, medication administration, mobility and more. Our trained staff members are on hand to help you perform these tasks safely while still respecting your independence.

Our assisted living communities also provide excellent accommodations for seniors, as well as an active and social environment where seniors can meet other people in the same stage of life.


How is assisted living different from a nursing home?

Assisted living does not provide advanced, round-the-clock medical care, such as treatment for specific conditions like advanced Alzheimer’s. Skilled nursing homes, on the other hand, are designed to house and assist individuals who have health conditions that require constant monitoring and round-the-clock availability of medical personnel.

You may not know which level of care you or your loved one needs. That’s not a problem. Our assisted living communities can do an assessment to determine the level of care needed for your situation.

When is it time to move to assisted living?

It can be difficult to decide on the right time to make the move, and the right time varies for each person. Generally, assisted living is ideal for those who need some help in their daily lives, but don’t require advanced medical care.

If you or your loved one finds it challenging to perform daily living tasks, has mobility issues, needs access to medical care, or wants to live in a place that offers social activities with other like-minded seniors, it might be time to try assisted living. At each of our communities, trained staff members can help make the transition easier.

The more you know about assisted living, the better decision you can make.


What is the cost of assisted living? Does Medicare pay for it?

Costs vary widely depending on what region you live in, as well as your care situation.  At Brookdale, a senior only has to pay for the care services that he or she needs, which can help decrease costs.

Medicare and other federal programs typically do not pay for assisted living. Most likely you will use personal funds, assets or long-term care insurance to put towards payment. Learn more in Financial Considerations.

What can a new resident bring with them when they move in?

While different assisted living communities have different guidelines, our residents are welcome to bring personal belongings and furnishings to make their new space feel more like home. We encourage our residents to feel comfortable and at ease in their accommodations, which includes personalizing the space.

How big are the rooms? Can couples live together?

Our assisted living communities offer a variety of room sizes and styles to fit your particular needs. The styles vary between communities, but floor plan options include studio apartments and one, two or three bedroom apartments. All apartments have private bathrooms, and some even have kitchenettes. Couples usually can live together, but it is best to check with the community first.

Do residents need their own car?

It’s definitely not required. We provide scheduled transportation services so seniors can attend appointments, run errands, etc. without getting behind the wheel. But if a senior is still able to drive, many of our communities allow residents to have cars.

Are pets allowed?

Most places do allow small pets! It’s best to check with each individual community, but there’s a good chance a pet-friendly community is in your area.

Can a senior be denied?

Our top priority is a senior’s health. If a senior is denied it’s because we believe a senior needs more care than an assisted living community can provide. However, we try to welcome as many individuals as we can.

What if a resident doesn’t remember to take their medications?

No problem! We have trained staff members who can assist seniors in taking medication. If you are in need of this service, just let the nursing staff at the community know and they can gladly accommodate this need.

How do I know whether residents are well taken care of?

When you are selecting an assisted living community, settle on a place that’s established and with a good reputation. Many of our communities have received “Best of the Best” awards for their excellent service. And if you go with a Brookdale community, you can feel assured that it meets our high level of standard.

Once a senior joins a community, make sure family and/or friends regularly visit and check on the senior. Also, develop relationships with the staff, if possible, and maintain consistent communication with them. That makes it easier to keep tabs on the care that a resident is receiving. And, monitor your loved one’s behavior and ask specific questions about the amount of attention they receive from caretakers.


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Do All Estates Need Probate?

In California, a full probate is not necessary if someone dies with under $150,000 in assets. For example, say, Joe Client dies owning a bank account in his name worth $130,000 and no other assets. The beneficiaries (i.e., the ones getting Joe’s stuff under his will or intestacy if there is no will) complete what is called a “Small Estate Affidavit” and give it to the bank. Upon receiving the affidavit, the bank will release the funds to the beneficiaries.

For real property, there are also simplified procedures to transfer ownership to the beneficiaries if it, along with other assets in the estate, are worth under $150,000. This $150,000 figure is based on the gross value of the estate, NOT the net value. There is a simple procedure for transferring real property worth between $50,000 and $150,000 and there is a simpler procedure for real property worth less than $50,000. I’ll illustrate this with two examples.

Real Property worth between $50,000 and $150,000

Let’s say Joe Client owns a bank account worth $10,000 and a small home in the desert worth $120,000. Joe’s beneficiaries must file a “Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property” and go to a hearing in probate court before a judge. After the hearing is completed and the judge signs an order, the beneficiaries take the signed order and record it with the county recorder’s office to get title in their names.

Real Property worth less than $50,000

Same example as above, but instead of real property worth $120,000, Joe has a parcel of land in Salton Sea worth $5,000. Joe’s beneficiaries can do what is called an “Affidavit Re Real Property of Small Value” for the Salton Sea land. The affidavit is completed by the beneficiaries and given to a probate court clerk to stamp and return. No hearing is necessary. To seal the deal, the beneficiaries take the stamped affidavit and record it with the country recorder’s office to get title in their names.

These procedures are also used if someone has a trust and dies with an asset outside of the trust. The asset or assets outside of the trust can be put in the trust with these simplified procedures if the values are in the ranges explained.

If you have an estate worth more than $150,000, you need a trust to avoid probate! Or, if you have a trust, you need to make sure your stuff is in the trust! Get your trust done and make sure it’s working for you by giving me a call and scheduling an appointment – (805) 484-2769.

Stephen M. Wood, Attorney

A Californian’s Right to a Protected Retirement

Private Retirement – A Californians Right to Exempt Assets

California was just named the #1 Judicial Hellhole in the nation by NIFB.  Unfortunately, while asset protection has become one of the hottest topics and business advocates are hungry for solutions, the term “asset protection” has become taboo, and there is a major vacancy of advisors, expertise and education in the area of “exemption planning”.  We are often perplexed with everyone scampering for solutions, and then they step over their basic exemption right for a private retirement.

What is a Private Retirement Trust?

A Private Retirement Trust, or PRT, is an enforcement of your right to convert non-exempt assets to “exempt” assets for your retirement. It’s a special Trust, that protects a Plan funds, that protects your Plan distribution and benefits, that protects your rights for a secure retirement – so that your wealth can be kept intact to help you secure a safer and more secure retirement.

When we teach clients, advisors and CPAs about these rights, the response is almost always the same: “Why didn’t I know about this?”

The answer is unfortunately because someone was promoting “Asset Protection” which is an extremely complex area, fraught with landmines and with limited advisors who know what they’re doing. Furthermore, such planning is usually utilized when under duress (when under attack) and defaults to “creditor evasion” and construed under fraudulent transfer (conveyance) rules that may incur penalties or even jail time for a violator.

Mass Education vs. Mass Marketing of the Private Retirement Trust

Recently, there have been articles written by self-proclaimed consumer advocates, mostly attorneys promoting their own services and that you can’t plan properly without them, warning against the mass-marketing of exemption rights, specifically the California private retirement plan or Private Retirement Trust.

But the pundits are completely missing the point, the intent is not to mass market, which are concerns usually reserved for tax-savings strategies, but to mass educate. Almost every client or advisor comes through our door knows nothing about asset protection, private retirement, or exemption planning, yet ALL Californians have the right to protect assets, as provided to all its residents under state law. The pundits are correct in one main item, that any plan needs to be properly set up with experts who know this specific field. You shouldn’t have any advisor, including a CPA, who is not familiar with the subject of Asset Protection, exemption rights, or private retirement plans, set up your planning or your defense will be weakened and perhaps forfeited. But that doesn’t mean you can learn and be educated on your rights under state law.

Exemption Rights vs. Asset Protection planning

So how does a Private Retirement Trust exemption fit within other Asset Protection planning solutions? Here are the basics:

  1. Buy Liability Insurance –
    1. Will the insurance pay? Will it be enough?
    2. Does it keep you from going to court? Will you have sleepless nights? Yes.
  2. Gift away assets
    1. Some advisors use Estate Planning strategies to solve Asset Protection planning needs which conflict. Why? Because if you irrevocably gift away assets, they are not yours anymore, they are outside your Estate.
    2. So here’s the hard questions: Are you aware you are giving up full control? Are you ok with that? If not, the strategy doesn’t match the need, which usually means the “plan” won’t succeed.
  3. Transfer assets:
    1. Fraudulent conveyance – clawback.
    2. Unintended Tax triggers
  4. Hide Assets – hide the nut. Move offshore.
  5. Exempt Assets
    1. Exemptions
    2. Retirement
Protecting Your Rights

So back to the commentators suggesting PRTs shouldn’t be broadcast. We feel it should. And actually by disparaging the practice of broadcasting the PRT right, they’ve helped us get the word out. We’ve had more calls and inquiries from interested Californians, so we actually appreciate the stimulus by the consumer advocates – thank you!

Protecting Your Rights – that’s our job

Shouldn’t all Californians be aware of all their rights to protect assets and wealth? Shouldn’t they be educated on all aspects of all plans available to them to solve their needs and issues? Don’t advisors have the responsibility to inform their clients and the general populous on their rights? A better question is would they be liable if they didn’t, and you lost wealth because of it? Hmmmm.

Our belief is the PRT is one of the greatest opportunities to protect private assets for a greater future and all Californians need to know what they don’t know. So we’ve invested in writing about the Private Retirement Trust planning in our books, we’ve created PRT University where we teach other advisors how to properly administrate such plans, and we’ve invested in social responsibility campaigns


Why Wouldn’t You Build the Perfect Retirement Plan…Your Way?!

Because No One’s Telling You About It – That’s Why!

California “private retirement plans” have been around since 1970, even before tax qualified plans like 401ks and IRAs were created by ERISA in 1974.  But very few California residents or advisors even know about them.  Why?

Because there’s nothing to sell.  There’s no tax deductions to promote and there’s no product to sell a client.  A Private Retirement TrustSM simply allows a client to fund their own existing assets to fund their private retirement and protect it from creditors.  Kind of like dropping a dome shield over your world.  It’s that simple.

You should know about Private Retirement Trust – it’s your Right

All assets you build on your personal balance sheet are exposed to creditor attack and bankruptcy threat and if lost, will impact your lifestyle forever.  But under California state statute, if funded to your Private Retirement TrustSM all assets are exempt from both lawsuit and bankruptcy creditor seizure and can bCreate A Custom Retirement Plane preserved until you use them.

So why aren’t Advisors educating clients on a PRTSM

A Major Controversy: many private investors argue the financial markets have created tax-driven retirement plans as a way to liquidate private assets and route cash flow away from a productive business in order to be reinvested into investment products, of which the main benefactors are the financial institutions and their commissioned advisors.

But Qualified Plans and IRAs just don’t work for a private investor/owner.  How can I prove my point?  Because as recent as this year more and more prohibitive transactions requirements have been imposed on Qualified & IRA plans that limit the investments and personal management of such plans, basically eliminating private asset funding.

A PRTSM is the “Do it Your Way” Retirement Plan

Conversely, a Private Retirement TrustSM is specifically designed to allow a Californian the opportunity to fund their private interest in their own plan and then exempt assets, gains and distributions from attacking creditors and bankruptcy.  The state statute is so strong that Federal government recognizes the asset protection should inure to the benefit of the private retirement plan beneficiary…you!

It’s been this way unchanged since 1970, so you may want to get educated on it if you want your private assets and investments to be your retirement plan.


If you don’t have Administration, you don’t have a legitimate Retirement Plan

All plans require 3rd party administration to protect retirement plan integrity.  But it’s particularly important for Private Retirement Trusts.  Why?

1 – because you are allowed to fund your private assets into your own PRT plan and direct them when and how you want, there needs to be an arm’s length layer of protection to help honor the asset protection benefits that you receive as the plan beneficiary.  Its common sense – you can’t administrate your own assets and expect to receive the layer of creditor defense awarded to a legitimate plan.

2 – because California state law says you have to!

A Major Lack of Expertise

Unfortunately, there are not many administrators that understand how to admin private assets.  Qualified plan TPAs are geared toward investment management platforms with financial companies like John Hancock, Transamerica, Mass Mutual, etc.

A true PRT Administrator is geared toward business and seeks to help maximize the protection of “active” and “complex” private assets like private business stock or member interest, that are allowed in a PRT, as well as to help maintain cash flows to a successful business or private investment portfolio, to optimize ROI (return on investment), which includes minimizing costs.

Don’t become “BAD” Case Law

There is nearly 200 legal case examples of successes and failures and the difference is black and white –  a successful Private Retirement plan is one where there was proper and adequate administration that made the plan “legitimate”.  Failed cases all had no or poor administration, the defense was lost and assets were forfeited to creditors and irretrievable.

Conclusion: if anyone recommends or sets up a private retirement plan for you and does not provide or advocate critical administration support services, RUN AWAY, OR YOU COULD BECOME BAD CASE LAW!

We believe that ever person should have a custom designed Private Retirement Plan and we wrote about here. If you want to find out exactly what requirements are needed to maintain proper administration, click here to find out more…


Can a Tax Deduction Hurt You?

Ok, so when clients come in our door, they always seem to ask if they can get a tax-deduction for funding in their private assets to their PRT.  I ask always ask “Why would you want to slit your own throat?”  Then they always look at me perplexed.  But we then start a key discussion on how they perceive their tax plan.  It usually flushes out that they either don’t understand their long-term tax plan and they’ve just been trained to seek tax deductions without knowing what the future liabilities will be.  And then it further ferrets out they are getting passive or defensive tax planning advice and may have outgrown their current advisors.

Tax Deductions Are Not Always a Great Thing

When would you want a tax deduction in a retirement plan?  When the assets inside a retirement plan are tax-weak and need tax fuel to improve the net benefits using compounding as a factor of return.  This usually is the case with passive investment portfolios that are tax-inefficient and/or are being churned.

Another issue is the compounding tax liabilities associated with retirement plan deductions.  Tax Deductions are really only Tax-Deferrals – contributions to a Qualified Retirement Plan (QRP) or IRA are deducted against current income, but all distributions from such plans are fully taxed upon distribution – yes 100% taxable with no basis.  So you end up paying the tax on the tree, not the seed.

So when would you NOT want a tax-deduction in a retirement plan?  When the assets being funded already have substantial tax benefits and you don’t want to mess a good thing up.

The PRT is the “Switzerland” of Retirement Plans because it is “Tax-Neutral”

A PRT is tax-neutral thereby offering no tax deduction.  And its specifically designed that way. Why?

Because it seeks to honor an asset’s current favorable tax characterization and avoid all the negative future tax liabilities.

Key Point: the assets that are funded into it already have inherent tax benefits:

  • Business assets can still get business expenses and more importantly fully secure tax credits which usually are a permanent dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes, not fractional deduction $.
  • Real Estate retains its capital gain character and accommodates tax deferral planning, including allowing for 1031 exchanges.
  • Other tax-deferred or tax-free vehicles like annuities, life insurance and muni-bonds retain their preferred tax character.

While clients enjoy these powerful savings opportunities, there is also a dual-side to PRT tax-neutrality.  A PRT also tactically avoids a plethora of negative tax triggers, which may include converting capital gain assets into ordinary income taxation, unnecessarily reducing basis, increasing estate taxation, and probably the worst of all, triggering property tax reassessment – or all of the above.

Our philosophy is that the best tax management plan is driven by a forward-thinking CPA who understanding business and can cultivate all the tax advantages to managed down the long-term negative impact on cash flows and net benefits.  But this CPA will need a PRT guide to understand how they can take advantage of all these planning opportunities.  Need a proactive CPA?  We know some great ones!


Exempting Your Business Stock & Interests in a Private Retirement Trust

Funding Your Retirement with Your Business Stock

While other retirement plans prohibit private business interest funding, a Private Retirement TrustSM (PRTSM) allows the funding of any appreciating private asset, including business stock and member interests and/or any appreciating income-producing business assets, in order to help make up for the often massive retirement savings shortfall left from other plans.

  • What qualifies?  C-Corp, S-Corp stock and LLC/LLP Member Interests, revenue agreements and accounts receivables, consulting or commission contracts, and more.

Your Business as an “Exempt” Retirement Asset

When you fund your business to your Private Retirement TrustSM, you don’t have to sell or gift transfer away your assets.  All you are doing is “recharacterizing” your stock or interests from “non-exempt” to “exempt” and retaining a beneficial interest, and thereby securing the following “true” asset protection benefits:

  • Your equity interests are immediately protected from creditors, both bankruptcy and lawsuit, as an exempt retirement asset.  WARNING: if not properly planned, inside creditors may still be able to access business assets for its liabilities.  It’s critical to employ a defensive strategy backed by an integrated shareholder’s or operating agreement.
  • All distributions from a PRTSM maintain continued creditor protection if properly administrated, so your Corporate dividends and LLC distributions can be protected against seizure even after you receive them.
  • All death benefits paid from a PRTSM are fully exempt for beneficiaries. So in the event of a premature death a PRTSM becomes a safe-haven to ensure that your business values are fully transferred and protected for your family and heirs.

What does this mean to you?  By working in a safer planning environment, you can keep focused on being productive to grow your business with less worry about unknown and uncontrollable risks of loss.  It also allows you the ability to utilize risk management strategies that can actually help maintain cash flows and recapture lost opportunity costs.

Capturing Owner’s Equity while Honoring Business Commitments

One of the unique aspects of a PRTSM is that unlike all other retirement plans, the trustee can pledge or offer assets to help support other business obligations.  So while a business needs to meet commitments for bonding-surety and bank lending arrangements including personal guarantees, a PRTSM can indemnify those obligations while protecting the remainder owner’s equity from unwanted outside creditors.

Cash Flow Enhancement

A secondary but equally potent benefit of a PRTSM is the ability for it to accept as well as make Plan/Trust Loans.  Again unlike all other plans that have prohibitive transactions against loans, a PRTSM is not limited to its capital allocations and by virtue improves cash flow planning opportunities.

Accelerated Asset Protection – a 10x multiple

Probably the most powerful strategy in all of asset protection is the PRT AcceleratorSM, which is using future business revenues to secure against current business/asset equity.  By funding a Promissory Note (loan) to a PRTSM against future profits, the PRTSM can lien current assets as collateral and own equity as a secured interest.  The result is typically around a 10-1 ratio of asset security to dollar outlaid year one, thereby accelerating asset protection.

Using PRTSM funds to fuel Business Growth…and Enhance Returns

While we don’t favor the term “Be Your Own Bank”, the fact is a that a PRTSM can legitimately invest directly or loan funds to a profitable business and recapture lost opportunity costs that plague other retirement plans.  If properly structured the PRTSM can leverage its assets and offer low-cost funds to invest in a higher ROI business, and create a capital and tax arbitrage for improving long-term gains.  With proper guidance, this enhanced return can be strategically used to offset other revenue risks and wealth-eroding risks like inflation.

The bottom line is that it is good business for a PRTSM to invest in a successful business either as a shareholder/member, or as an investor and/or lender.  There are no limits to funding, but options should be analyzed to ensure maximum capitalization and asset protection.

Finally, Avoiding the Tax Trap of Passive Retirement Plans

One of the things you don’t get for funding a PRTSM is a tax deduction for funding your private business interests to a PRTSM.  And guess what, you don’t want it.  That’s right, while everyone is promoting tax deductions for “passive” investments, that is a negative for the PRTSM because it triggers negative tax consequences on inherently tax-favored “active” assets like your business or real estate.

The Bottom Line – Build Your Business, Just Do It Protected for Your Retirement

If you can build your business the way you want but do it safer and smarter, aren’t you better off?  You can protect your principal and ensure maximum capitalization, both of which translate into greater asset values and more net benefits to you and your family, for a more comfortable and less stressful lifestyle.


The PRTSM is certainly one of the most powerful risk management strategies a successful business owner can employ to protect their world without disrupting their plan or cash flows. It requires oversight by an expert in the area who understands how to administrate such a plan and accommodate you as the plan participant and beneficiary.  And more importantly, it demands an advisor that can explain benefits in simple terms so you can understand your options and know your decisions are in your best interests.

A Call to Action for California Business Owners

This is a reminder that the Private Retirement TrustSM is an exemption right afforded to all resident of California and must be funded prior to any legal recourse or issues.


Hey Doc, Can You Help Defend Against The Creditor Lawsuit-Virus?

Lawsuit Virus

Are You Immune to the Creditor Lawsuit-Virus?

The creditor lawsuit-virus plagues the physician market, and it’s sickening.  The facts are scary, 40% of all California physicians have been sued in the last 5 years and 40% more will be sued in the next 2 years (note this includes personal suits outside professional business malpractice issues). Which means all these people have had a wealth-eroding creditor illness, and most of them never recover.  Why?

The problem is that the typical wealth accumulation model for successful physicians is counter-intuitive to a strong asset protection plan.

Traditional Weak Defenses: doctors are well aware they have a short working lifespan and therefore need to capture as much income as possible during high-earnings capacity.  But their weakness is in siphoning earnings out of their business to reinvest dollars into alternative investments, like real estate, with the goal of building an alternative income-producing balance sheet that can offset future income losses as their earnings capacity wanes and one day ceases altogether.  Their goal is to have a self-sustaining balance sheet, but they have to build it fully exposed to unwanted threats and exposures.

The Fear of a Balance Sheet Death

So it’s to no great surprise that greatest fear for all physicians is the loss of income-replacement assets they have spent years working to build – if they get sued once and lose, then it all goes away and they have to start over, but there is not enough time to replenish the lost assets, which means they will live a lesser comfortable life at retirement.

So what’s the cure?

As a Dr. earns monies and routes funds to their private balance sheet, they have a choice.  They can:

(1) maintain current asset character for personal use in which case the assets and income will be fully exposed to creditors, or

(2) re-characterize assets for their private retirement, in which case all plan funds would be “exempt” from both bankruptcy and lawsuit creditors during accumulation and even after distribution or death benefit payout to beneficiaries.

An Anti-Creditor Vaccine

So the strategy is to get a shot BEFORE you get sick with the lawsuit virus to prevent an attack.  It’s the same for all asset protection and creditor defense planning – you need to exempt assets BEFORE you get sued.  A Private Retirement TrustSM allows you to convert “non-exempt” exposed assets to “exempt” protected assets without having to sell or disrupt your current financial plan or negatively impact your tax savings strategies.  So you get your booster-shot and kill off the creditor-virus which enhances your chances of having a healthy financial life at retirement.

A PRTSM a Day Keeps the Creditors at Bay

As doctors all know, there is no miracle cure, but a PRTSM Diagnostic is the place to start to identify and quarantine an illness.  Once your balance sheet is healed and the creditor-virus is killed off, then maintaining balance sheet health with ongoing checkups (administration) is the best ongoing defense to increase your chances for a long healthy financial life.

If you want to find out more about how a Private Retirement TrustSM can help to defend against the creditor-virus by reading our PRTsm 101 series


When is a PRT NOT Appropriate?

When is a PRT NOT Appropriate?

As with any strategic planning where you try to keep your money from outside interests, planning can become overly aggressive, whether driven by an advisor or a client that takes good advice and bastardizes it on their own. These abuses are arsenal for attackers who can then claim that the planning was done for ulterior motives, and not for the true intent of the planning for which it was established.

A “plan” usually succeeds when it was found to honor the primary purpose of planning (“good case law”). The failure of a “plan” is usually determined by a fact pattern in which a plan was used as a shelter to hide funds from the grasp of unwanted creditors, but was not able to otherwise prove a true need, i.e. “bad case law or not appropriate”.  However, one should note that there is a gray area.  Even where it may be that a debtor had good intent, their plan may fail because they could not prove legitimacy due to lack of documentation or administration support. This error leaves the final decision to a judge and will likely end with you as the loser.

The protocol of “intent” is particularly acute with the implementation of a Private Retirement TrustSM because it’s tertiary wealth preservation benefits are so potent. Many times attackers will try to use lack of intent as a reason to unwind a plan and stake their claim.  However, unlike most planning that requires a debtor to prove intent, a PRTSM falls under exemption law, which dictates it’s up to a creditor to prove “lack of intent.”  So a PRTSM participant at least has a leg up if they can truly legitimize their retirement planning purpose.

The Primary Planning Purpose of a PRTSM is for Retirement

True and primary intent of a Private Retirement TrustSM is to make up an existing retirement savings shortfall by funding private assets to a private plan. In order to legitimately resolve an income gap and reduced lifestyle at retirement a PRTsm can be used to fill that retirement gap.

Retirement Must Be Primary, but not Exclusive

First, a Private Retirement TrustSM is supported under California statute CCP (Code of Civil Procedure) 704.115. An attacking creditor’s attorney won’t be able to challenge the legitimacy of the law.  Instead they will be left with trying to attack its planning intent.  Second, it has been determined under both federal and state case law that “retirement must be the primary, but not exclusive, purpose of the plan”.  So as long as retirement is the overriding purpose for the “Plan”, the receipt of other benefits is acknowledged as contingent and purposeful.

When is it NOT Appropriate to set up a PRTSM?

Basically, the answer is if the primary purpose is NOT for retirement, and usually includes one of these two scenarios:

  • Creditor Evasion: when someone calls in and says “I want a PRTSM”.  Our response is “what happened?”  The bottom line is if you are intending to use a PRTSM as a defensive strategy against existing creditors without any consideration for retirement, the plan will fail.  We won’t do it.
  • No True Retirement Need: in the case where there are clients that have done a great job accumulating wealth and can meet their retirement objectives, the excess funds should not be funded to a PRTSMand excess funds would not be protected.   Note that rarely do we see clients that can meet their retirement on an inflationary basis and therefore most cases prove up the shortfall and need for additional funding.

So what tools are used to validate the legitimacy of a PRTSM?

After review of all good and bad case law we have determined a path of success to both honor the true intent of a PRTSM and avoid the trappings of failed plans.  Here are the required components to ensure proper Plan design and assure maximum Plan defense:

  • PRTSM Diagnostic – inventory all estate assets, apply any current exemptions, and identify assets legitimate for retirement;
  • PRTSM Analyzer – calculates the income gap at retirement based on quarantined assets, and then calculates the savings shortfall that determines the amount of needed retirement funding.
  • PRTSM Accelerator – applies the legitimate assets against the shortfall and then calculates the future funding needed to make up the remainder shortfall, if any.
  • PRTSM Assessment Report – compares retirement planning improvements created from recommended PRT Plan funding, and summarizes all other Plan benefits based on the validated funding amounts.
  • PRTSM Benchmark Tracker – tracks actual returns and asset values as compared to the Plan, and accounts for excesses and shortfalls against the PRTSM “cone of uncertainty” to improve actuarial likelihood of plan success.

Each one of these steps is critical to the validation process and finely tuned into a patent-pending system to ensure maximum performance and avoid any abuses.  Any modification of these steps will leave a PRTSM Plan weaker if and when tested.

Asset Protection is a by-product of Private Retirement, not the primary objective

Unfortunately, most attorneys are geared toward legal defense (asset protection) strategies and do not understand the intricacies of retirement or exemption planning. They have a tendency to put the cart before the horse and play the “asset protection” card first.  We have worked diligently to help educate our PRTSM Attorney Subscribers to understand that a Diagnostic exemption planning review will help start the conversation with private retirement as the goal, and asset protection is simply one of the many benefits and results of a legitimate Private Retirement TrustSM Plan.

To find out more details about the PRTSM Planning System, click here


Your Business Is Your Retirement

Protect Business Using Exemptions

“Exempting” Your Business for a Private Retirement – for Owners & CEOs Most successful business owners say that their business is their retirement plan, but they don’t ever claim their tax or creditor exemption rights to secure the protection, profit and preservation benefits offered by such plans. Protecting Business can be done!!

Private Retirement Plans – an Irrefutable Creditor Exemption under California State Law- Protect Business

Protect Business using Exemption Planning

Protect Business, Use Your Exemption Planning Rights in California

In 1970, California instituted state law (California Code of Civil Procedure 704.115) to allow its residents to fund their private assets, including private business interests, to a private retirement plan and “exempt” all funds, distributions and death benefits from both bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy creditor attachment. This law is still in effect today unchanged, but very few use it until it’s too late and they are sued and then it’s too late, the right is forfeited.

So a Business Owner has a choice when growing their business:

1. They can consider it a personal use asset in which it has no exemption from creditors and if they get sued they can lose it and start over, or

2. They can “recharacterize” their business as for “retirement”, in which case it is exempt from creditors both while they build it and even after they sell it and live off the proceeds.

Private Retirement Trustsm: Delivering Enhanced Benefits & Values

A properly constructed Private Retirement Trust empowers an Owner & CEO to receive a multitude of benefits and values without disrupting their wealth-building strategy:

• True Asset Protection: all plan funds, distributions and death benefits are fully exempt from bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy (lawsuit) creditors, offering a safe-haven for better planning.

• Self-Directed: there is no need to change your asset structure. You simply “exempt” assets legitimate for your retirement plan. You invest as you are and build wealth the way you want.

• Pro-Business: an Owner and/or CEO can build a successful business the way they want and not disrupt any equity, balance sheet, cash flows, or financial obligations with financial partners.

• Accelerated Asset Protection: because a funded business has future profits, a PRTsm leverages its future profit stream against present value of business equity, thereby accelerating current day asset protection values. There is roughly a 10x multiple on asset value to dollar funded.

Powerful NON-Tax Benefits: PRTsm

Contributions are not tax deductible as the assets funded already have inherent tax benefits, deductions, credits and exemptions. It is intentionally tax-neutral to avoid negative tax triggers such as cap gains conversion to ordinary income, and property reassessment.

• LOC recapture: by using its exemptions and continued funding to a productive business, a PRTsmactually improves cash flows and enhances long-term values.

• Greater Values – Greater Benefits: upon business or asset sale, all funds convert into exempt benefits for a greater net lifestyle at retirement.

• Enhanced Perpetuation Planning: since the PRTsm is exempt it can better facilitate buyout arrangements, continuation plans, or asset transfer plans to heirs, by protecting all parties from outside creditor involvement.

• Low Costs: a PRTsmis easy to setup because there’s nothing to buy or sell. It’s just the process of exempting your assets. Fees are fixed and transparent to provide the greatest planning value at the lowest net cost compared to all other planning.

Exemption Planning

In conclusion, while the PRTsm is not a cure-all for all business struggles, it is a legal right that each Californian business owner can claim so they can create a safer environment in which to tackle other planning issues and needs.

• When would you benefit from a PRTsm? If you have a growing business and before any litigation.

• When would you forfeit your right? After you’ve been sued and lost your assets.


Learn how to use your exemption rights, get educated and Read Our PRT 101 Series Here