Recently I noticed a comment from Billy on a previous article and followed his link to Plan B Debt & Credit Consultants. I saw they had a program called Asset Guard that looked very interesting for debtors who own valuable assets and think that creditor troubles may be heading there way.
Billy, if I read the product description correctly, it sound ingenious, tell us how Asset Guard works and who it is for?
The Asset Guard is quite unique and yet the underlying concepts have been used by banks and other larger businesses for years. In layman’s terms, it is a superior lien over your personal name that effectively “blocks” any unsecured creditors from attempting to become secured. This means it deters creditors from pursuing judgment in order to acquire assets that they have found to be yours (through skip tracing and public records searches). This includes equity in property as well as other assets. It is also meant to include paper assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. The creditor finds the asset guard in place and realizes the difficulty in acquiring assets by pursuit of judgment. In the event that a judgment is pursued and achieved, the asset guard renders the judgments virtually noncollectable (similar to a high 2nd, 3rd, etc. position on a mortgage loan. The lien may be noncollectable as it is way out of the equity of your home).
The asset guard is not “touted” as protection to the creditor, but is easily found as they search public records in pursuance of collection efforts. In fact, to tell them you are protected will only push them to “test” you since you are so “confident” which will only create additional headaches. We combine the Asset Guard protection with Validation requests to creditors in order to fortify your position when you decide to begin negotiations. Although it yields protection by itself, the true protection comes when combined with these other efforts.
The Asset Guard is ideal for those looking to protect assets, including equity and paper assets, while improving their results from negotiation efforts. The value is especially seen with those carrying higher debt loads as the collection efforts increase with larger accounts. Carrying the two key benefits, it helps those looking for debt settlement and to negotiate debts for pennies on the dollar.
Have you had any clients that have been able to successfully avoid having their property attached by creditors using Asset Guard?
Yes, many clients have seen the protection resulting from utilization of the Asset Guard. One such client held several million in real estate (that he was unable to turn over or sell for the time being) that was completely free of any incumbencies due to unsecured debts. The asset guard allowed him to compartmentalize his debts to be negotiated and treated on their individual merit and not the pursuit of additional, more damaging collection efforts. Other clients have experienced similar results and some with very substantial amounts of debt ($500k+ in unsecured debts).
So does the client need to leave the Asset Guard protection in place forever? If not, when can they remove it?
It is recommended to remain until all credit accounts are resolved. This avoids any further “surprise” issues that may arise. When a client chooses to remove the Asset Guard, it is as simple as requesting removal with us. In order to maintain full control of the process however, the client is also issued a “lien release” that may be exercised at anytime regardless of our involvement. This alleviates any fear of losing control or putting to much power into another companies hands. Although you cannot hold the lien yourself, you maintain control.
Placing a lien against your property will hurt your credit report, but in your experience, how much?
Typically, clients already have credit troubles which masks any possible damage done by the lien. Even in the event that it is placed with someone of pristine credit, the effect has been minimal, resulting in a 10 point decrease (on average). Furthermore, the lien holder does not report to the credit bureaus thus decreasing the chances that it actually shows up on your credit report. The only other way is for the bureau to seek out public records which is possible but unlikely. The creditor will find it through public records searches, not via the credit report. If it does show up, it may actually fortify the position although that slight credit decrease will result.
Have you had any challenges to the lien by creditors? Have they found a way to have it successfully removed?
We have not had any direct challenges up to this point although we are ready if one does come about. The lien is actually perfected following contract law with one of our affiliate companies, Business Wealth Services Inc., providing a specific business service to you. In the event that it is challenged, the lien has already been perfected and is easily validated as the service is being provided but not complete (nor is payment complete). The contract is constructed to best perfect the lien by consultants with personal and professional experience in such situations and areas of law. It is defend-able and prepared to be so. We are not attorneys although our attorneys are prepared to defend the company’s lien positions.
It is also issued by a 3rd party (our affiliate company) that cannot be construed as “friendly” to the client since the client does not have any personal relationship with or ownership in the company; those that have attempted to do this on their own have been construed as “friendly liens” which invalidates the Asset Guard (among other implementation issues). In this respect, I have seen similar attempts by others with do-it-yourself lien placement that have been challenged by creditors. These challenges resulted from flawed lien construction and implementation such as being “friendly.” By utilizing our understanding of the system and laws combined with our process, we have yet to be challenged although I’m sure it is inevitable at some point.
In short, as of yet, no creditor has directly challenged the Lien and thus no successful removals. The Asset Guard is a barrier that has served its purpose in protecting our clients.
The Asset Guard service sounds very forward thinking. I have not seen anyone do this. Even when clients understand the ramifications of the lien, is the peace of mind enough of a benefit that people are leaping to protect their property with Asset Guard?
We have seen phenomenal results from the Asset Guard and the client response has followed suit. It definitely provides more benefit than cost for most clients, especially those with assets to protect and/or higher levels of debt as these creditors are more likely to pursue stronger collection means. The peace of mind is just another benefit.
Is the Asset Guard solution also available for people to protect their valuable automobiles and aircraft?
Yes, the asset guard works for all assets. It is important to realize that the asset guard applies to all unsecured debts and future secured debts. If one has a first mortgage or first lien on a vehicle, that was there first and therefore takes “first position,” obviously. But for those with paid off assets, or equity, or just those wanting to avoid additional hassle that fighting off liens creates, the Asset Guard provides an additional layer of protection and control over the debt situation.
The Asset Guard is only effective when established before severe or substantial credit and debt problems are encountered such as a lawsuit or judgment. If you are going late on credit, the sooner the asset guard is in place, the more firm the position and protection will be. Whomever sues before it is placed will likely overpower the Asset Guard and move forward “in front” of it in pursuit of assets and garnishment. It is recommended to take additional precautionary steps in order to avoid full confrontation and use of the protection as the mere defense of the Asset Guard may be costly (attorney fees, etc.) even though protection is received and won. We follow the asset guard with proper asset structuring in order to avoid unnecessary legal fees and defense(its like having the armor on and still avoiding the bullets. We don’t want to walk straight into the line of fire but when we do get hit, everything is okay).
So Billy, the question everyone will want to know, sounds great but how much does this service cost?
As for cost, we combine the asset guard with a validation strategy of managed communications with creditors (taking mail, developing responses, issuing them to the client to verify the information, sign and send). This process includes some guidance with negotiation but ultimately, as you know, it is just as powerful to negotiate on your own. Our cost is between $2,500 – $4,500 plus $150/mo. (if we are managing communications, i.e. phone and mail and producing responses for you via you following our guides). At $4,500 it includes the Asset Guard, Validation Process, Deficiency negotiations (short sale specialist), negotiation consulting, and credit repair assistance. It usually adjust depending on what level of unsecured debts we will be dealing with in the Validation process between these figures.
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