How To Document Property Damage Claims at Your Business or Medical Practice: Asset Protection

Slide1As we’ve seen across the United States over the last year, severe weather, disasters and even intentional acts of vandalism can cause financially devastsing  property damage. Below are tips on how to document and pursue claims with your insurance company to enforce your rights under your  property and casualty policy.

• Step One: Actually having adequate insurance

Check on your property damage dollar limits to make sure they are adequate for the actual value of the building (and its contents) and make sure you understand important policy details like the difference between replacement cost (the dollar amount needed to replace a damaged item with one of similar kind and quality, without depreciation) and actual cash value (which pays only the amount needed to replace the item at its current market value).

• Step Two: Document everything — this is now a legal issue

As is reasonably possible, document the damage to your structure including an inventory of any damaged items you can immediately spot, including medical equipment, fixtures, signage, and office equipment, as well as documenting any appointments that had to be cancelled and other loss of revenue opportunities related to the damage. Write it down at the time so your recollection is fresh and accurate, and support that writing with pictures, video, etc. If you have a smart phone you have the ability to do this at all times.

• Step Three: Protect the property

Most polices have language that requires you to take reasonable measures to prevent further damage after it has come to your attention. This may include addressing covering damage in roof, walls, doors, and windows with temporary shelter. Your insurance policy may exclude further damage to your property if you have not taken reasonable steps to secure the property. Your insurance company will generally reimburse you for all reasonable costs to protect your property, so document everything and keep receipts for all expenses. Avoid any possible permanent repairs and major expenses until your carrier’s claims adjuster has assessed the damage.

• Step Four: Report the claim

Call and report the damage to your insurance agent or representative to start the claim process. Get a claim number issued immediately so you are in the system and have something to refer to on all future calls and correspondence; without a claim number you do not exist. It is vital to document everything. Keep a written log of all phone calls and correspondence, including the names of the people you spoke to, their telephone extensions and e-mail addresses and make copies of all correspondence sent to or received from your insurance company. Many insurance carriers intentionally obfuscate contact numbers and provide an endless maze of dead-end fax and phone numbers, in an effort to delay timely processing of claims, or “paperwork you away.” So if an insurance company employee or adjuster gives you such numbers to use, try to get them in writing.

• Step Five: Demand an adjuster and complete any forms they require

Your insurance company may use a “proof of loss” form or will simply have you make a formal verbal statement on the phone that may be recorded. You are not a contractor; so don’t give opinions on the scope of the damage, costs, and etc. It will likely be used against you later, if you do. Report the damage you’ve been able to see, any remediation you’ve had to perform, and any help you need with further remediation. Inform them you’ve documented the claim with a list and photos. The adjuster should perform a thorough evaluation of the damage, so check their inspection report, when it happens, against your own list to make sure they haven’t intentionally or accidentally omitted any losses. If the adjuster is unable to complete a thorough inspection due to time constraints he may be forced to “scope the loss.” This is a brief inspection of the damage with a second visit necessary to complete the inspection.

If your carrier gives you the run around on any issues, does not timely respond, or most likely, fails to make you an adequate settlement offer, report the issue to a claims manager and support your case with documentation, estimates, and the photos you took. You have specific rights under the laws of the insurance codes of your state; know them. They are typically easy to find on every state’s department of insurance website and will spell out your rights and the carrier’s legal obligations in plain English.

This article originally appeared at www.physicianspractice.com where Ike Devji has written over 135 articles on buisness law, risk managment and asset protection for doctors. 

Arizona Asset Protection Attorneys Featured at 17th Annual Wealth Protection Conference, May 2014

Attorneys Charlie Davis and Ike Devji will be speaking at the 17th Annual Wealth Protection Conference on May 9 and 10 in Mesa Arizona.

From Left, Attorneys Charlie Davis and Ike Devji

From Left, Attorneys Charlie Davis and Ike Devji

Topics covered at the conference will include:

How To Protect Your Assets For Generations,   How to Safely and Legally Use Offshore Trusts and Banks,  Common Fatal Flaws and Misconceptions That Cost Successful People Everything,  Asset Protection Blueprint,   Estate Planning Tips,   Must Have Assets for 2014, Tools To Help You Put Your Business Into Hyper Growth Mode, Profiting During the Impending Dollar Collapse,   Where Energy is Headed & How to Profit, Taxpayers Rights and Abuse Prevention.

Take a look at the Conference website at www.wealthprotectionconf.com and sign up today to secure your spot. If you want to bring a colleague, spouse, child, or a friend the price of a second ticket is half price.

Charlie Davis is the founding partner of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner (DMMG) in Tempe Arizona and has decades of experience in dealing with business owners and other successful Americans on issues related to real estate, tax law and advanced business planning including Asset Protection.

See more on Charlie here: http://www.davismiles.com/attorney/charles-e-davis/

Ike Devji has over a decade of national legal practice devoted solely to Asset Protection and Wealth Preservation and helps protects billions of dollars in personal assets for client base that includes thousands of businesses owners and physicians among others. Ike joined Davis Miles McGuire Gardner earlier this year to help create formal practice groups in theses areas.

See more on Ike here: http://www.davismiles.com/attorney/ike-z-devji-j-d/

About the DMMG Asset Protection Practice group:

http://www.davismiles.com/practice-areas/asset-protection/

 

 

 

Asset Protection Attorney Ike Devji featured on Esq. Resource Radio

Slide1Attorney Ike Devji was a featured guest for a 60 minute interview on Esq. Resource Radio in Scottsdale, Arizona with host Frank Lopo recently.

The interview introduced the idea of Asset Protection, common Asset Protection mistakes and misconceptions, the role of liability insurance and a number of other issues that successful individuals like doctors and business owners should consider in their own legal and financial planning.

You can hear the entire interview at the link below.

 

“Defensive Medicine” is often Good Medicine and “Best Practice” for Doctors

PHYSICIAN AND HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE LIABILITYAsset protection for doctors is the main focus of this column (note: this article originally appeared at www.PhysiciansPractice .com, The Nation’s Leading Practice Mgmt. Resource) and we’ve examined it from many angles over the last 100+ articles I’ve shared here. Today, we examine the issue of defensive medicine, much decried by politicians and insurance companies and the role a thorough diagnosis, free of fear of such claims by a third-party payer, plays in good medicine and your own risk management plan.

The inappropriately deemed “common wisdom” regarding medical malpractice lawsuits and the overuse of diagnostics due to so-called defensive medicine is something like this:

1. There is a national medical malpractice lawsuit crisis;

2. Doctors run too many unnecessary tests to avoid being sued;

3. These tests have little medical value and are not necessary or reasonable to providing good care; and

4. It is because of this so-called abuse that healthcare and insurance costs are high, fewer medical procedures including testing can be covered, and your compensation must continually be reduced.

This is an admitted oversimplification of the arguments from both sides, but it seems to me that the loudest opponents of this standard of care regularly fall into two primary categories: marginally informed politicians looking for a hot button issue to trumpet and insurance companies and their lobbyists and publicists. It’s my opinion that neither of these groups have effective diagnosis, treatment. or doctors at heart.

I have worked with a national client base of several thousand doctors for 11 years and have seen every imaginable form of liability you can imagine. If you’re a regular reader of this column you know I take the threat to your wealth posed by litigation very seriously and have repeatedly addressed the threat of medical malpractice lawsuits in particular, so let’s assume that I agree you are at risk; in fact most of you will statistically face such a claim twice in your career.

Now, let’s look at the fact pattern behind a vast number of medical malpractice claims, a majority of which (some 35%) center on either “failure to diagnose” or “misdiagnosis” claims by plaintiff patients or worse, their surviving family members. We don’t need to look far for examples. I get news updates on medical malpractice claims, settlements, and lawsuits several times a week and cases like the recent failure to diagnose a bone infection in Texas  that lead to a suit against an orthopedic surgeon, the death of a six-year-old child in Dallas after his internal injuries were misdiagnosed as constipation and treated with enemas, and the misdiagnosis of lymphoma in Louisiana as an infection that was treated with antibiotics and which led to the patient later needing surgery and radiation are common. In the latter case, the lawsuit included claims for damages including, “medical expense, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, economic loss, diminution of earning capacity, disability, fear of death, scarring, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life”. What else do these three cases have in common? They are all from the headlines of the last one week.

I’m not a doctor and my knowledge of the cases is limited to the reports I’ve shared, so humor me and assume that the facts in these are accurate as reported. I am, however, an attorney and I know many other excellent attorneys, including the ones that sue doctors (and everyone else) for a living, here’s a little of what they’ve shared with me:

• Yes, is there is a pool of crooked attorneys out there churning frivolous cases and looking to scare and extort settlements out of any poor doctor they can get their sights on;

• This group is relatively small and spends most of their time on lower level cases that are typically settled or relatively easier to win, like conventional personal injury, dog bites, car accidents, slip and falls, etc;

• The best (meaning most successful and highest recovering) medical malpractice attorneys play to win and hedge their bets by carefully screening cases. They invest significant amounts of time and actual dollars in fronting costs for many claims and don’t usually take cases they don’t think they can win or which are at least strongly arguable as to causation in their client’s favor; and

• A key element of their claims is often related to the testing that could or should have been done to prevent further distress, or worse, to the patient. This standard of care is easily arguable both ways and poses a significant risk to your career and solvency.

My advice to doctors given these fact patterns is simple: Practice “defensive medicine” that puts the full range of modern diagnostics at your patient’s disposal. Its good medicine, good risk management, and the life you save may also be your own.

 

Arizona is an Income Tax Haven for MLB Players – and makes MORE off them by being one

TAX & LEGAL Planning for Pro athletesThis interesting article caught my eye because I represent some professional athletes including MLB players and because I live in Arizona.  It has a really interesting bit of info at the end.

The conventional wisdom at play in the U.S. is that the best way to raise government  revenues is to tax wealth creators at the very highest rates possible.

Arizona makes a large amount of money by being tax friendly and allowing enterprise to flourish, vs. what the state would have made by taxing MLB players in a more aggressive way.

If you are a ball player that wants to relocate your residence to Arizona please let me know, we have some great professional resources to help you. – Ike

ORIGINAL LINK BELOW:

How Arizona Saves MLB Players Millions in Taxes

 

Attorney Ike Devji Joins Davis Miles Mcguire Gardner to Create Asset Protection & Wealth Preservation Law Group

Press Release 

Asset Protection Attorney Ike Devji joins multi-state law firm of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC – expanding needed legal services to high net worth clients and their advisors.

Asset Protection Lawyer Ike Devji

Phoenix, February 10, 2014:  

Noted Asset Protection Attorney Ike Devji has joined the law firm of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC (DMMG) and its multi-state legal practice in an of-counsel capacity.

Lawyer Devji is in his 11th year of focused Asset Protection legal practice and has helped protect over $5 Billion in personal assets for a national client base of several thousand physicians and private business owners, c-level executives and a small but growing group of professional athletes and entertainers for over a decade. Devji formerly acted as the managing attorney of one of the nation’s leading asset protection only law firms and remains of counsel with that firm as well.

“This new relationship does not distract from my practice focus, which remains centered on Asset Protection, Wealth Transfer and Risk Management for successful individuals”, said Devji in a recent interview.

What this new partnership achieves is the creation of a focused asset protection practice group at DMMG and an expansion of the level of service I can bring my clients and the financial advisors, CPAs and medical practice management groups that refer their most cherished clients to me. I now have the additional legal expertise of some 70 odd attorneys with a high degree of skill and experience in 17 additional legal practice areas ranging from real estate to estate planning. This allows me to focus on what I’m best at and help coordinate my clients’ other complex planning and litigation needs in the holistic way they increasingly want and need”.

The timing of this new partnership is key for several reasons, not the least of which is the vulnerable state of the wealth of many of the Southwest’s most successful business people. The last 6 years in particular has shown that there is a substantial disconnect between the needs of many Arizona residents and the relatively low level of asset protection and defensive risk management planning they have in place. “The fact so many people in Arizona and across the U.S. lost a lifetime’s worth of work by relying on insurance and traditional estate planning alone speaks for itself” says Devji. “My new associates and I are going to work hard to increase not only the level of service and protection these folks have in place, but also the level of awareness of the needs of successful entrepreneurs of all types with public at large and legal and advisory communities in particular”.

Devji and his new associates will be hosting a variety of educational events for both the public and advisors which will continue the focus of Devji’s national speaking and educational activities and expend them by adding the expertise of DMMG’s other attorneys in other areas of the law. Devji is a popular and in-demand national speaker and has taught on this issue to literally thousands of advisors and consumers nationally. His scheduled speaking engagements include presentations at the request of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix, The Arizona State Physicians Association, a private surgery group and private presentation for professional athletes at the request of a boutique wealth management firm in Atlanta. This is in addition to video teaching presentations for NBI and The American Educational Institute (AEI), which will be shown to physicians across the United States over 1000 times in AEI’s classrooms.

Ike Devji’s work as an author has appeared in print and online in countless medical journals including Physicians Practice, Worth Magazine, Advisor Today, Public Accountant, Life Insurance Selling, Financial Consultant, Best Thinking. Expert Beacon and many other sources in additional to his being a contributing author to the book Optimal Financial Health, The Doctor’s Essential Wealth Management and Preservation Handbook. Devji is has been rated “10.0 Superb” by AVVO for the years 2013, 2012 and 2011 in addition to being named a WORTH magazine “Leading Wealth and Legal Advisor” and among North Valley magazine’s “Top Lawyers” in 2013.  He is a 30 year plus Arizona resident and a double ASU Alumni.

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Contact: IKE DEVJIPro Asset ProtectionPhone: (602) 808-5540Fax: (602) 808-5553 3131 E. Camelback   Road, Suite 350Phoenix, AZ 85016www.ProAssetProtection.com

pro asset protection

LIfe Insurance for Doctors and Business Owners – Key Due Dilligence Questions for Buyers

LIFE INSURANCE STRATEGIESThe last two weeks of the year is high selling season for life insurance polices as doctors rush to fund various retirement plans and as advisers take advantage of year-end wealth-transfer opportunities and favorable deals sometimes available from insurance companies. Knowing the right questions to ask about an insurance policy is a key issue for physicians, especially considering the significant investment often involved and the exit costs involved in buying a lemon.

Covering all the options and nuances available in the life insurance marketplace in anything less than book form is nearly impossible. The following are core concepts to be aware of that are the most basic and generally applicable.

What is my annual premium and can it change?

This is the amount the insurance will cost you every year. In some case this number is fixed and in other cases it can change based on variety of factors such as the performance of the stock market and other indices. Make sure you understand your obligations and what you will lose or be left with if you don’t make what the policy expected and what was actually illustrated.

Show me the policy illustration.

I see lots of bold promises and spit-ball estimations of future performance made by advisers. The policy illustration is all that matters, so any conversation about what could happen if the policy exceeds the expectation that the illustration creates is moot; don’t engage in it and instead ask about the “minimum guarantees” if one exists at all. That’s the minimum you’ll earn in the policy if the worst happens. Remember, the column on the far right in most illustrations is the “perfect world” scenario, so look at and have the others explained as well.

Does this policy have a cash value?

The cash value is the amount of premium that builds up inside the policy and that may be available to the policy owner in the future. Some policies, like term insurance, have no cash value, while others have it immediately and some build it up over time. Be clear if yours does and exactly when it will be available if you need it and under what terms.

Is my policy protected from creditors?

We’ve covered the tactical use of high-cash-value insurance with this feature before. Know what the laws in your state of residence are and if your policy and both the cash value and “death benefit” (dollar amount paid upon your death) is protected by law or not. Asset protection of liquid assets is always a key focus of my concern. If the law is not in your favor, some simple trust planning can often protect your policy from both estate taxes and more active threats.

How long will my policies last?

Again, this goes back to the illustration and specifies how long the coverage will be in place at a specific cost and what the death benefit will be through the term of the illustration. In some cases, keeping the policy alive may have significant increased costs while in others you may be able to reduce the death benefit to keep the premiums level or to stretch the policy for a longer period of years. Find out how flexible your policy will be in the future and weigh that as part of your risk-and-liquidity analysis.

What’s my exit strategy?

Find out what happens if you can’t or don’t want to continue to make premium payments. With term insurance you usually lose what you paid; that’s OK, think of it the way you might car insurance. Other policies that were structured to have a future cash value or that have a current cash value early on however may have significant “surrender penalties.” Know what happens if you walk away and what options the policy may provide, including the specific surrender penalties that may be imposed in the policy. The carrier could, for instance, keep all the cash value you built up if you don’t keep it for a minimum number of years.

 

This list just scratches the surface and is deceptively simple. Our goal here was to introduce some of the key concepts and questions you must be familiar with, so you can do your own due diligence on when buying life insurance, whether a simple term policy or a complex premium-financed strategy with a triple-reverse galactic split dollar that includes a trip to the Bahamas to read the policy.

My thanks to Jeff Christenson, president of Christenson Wealth Management in Phoenix, Ariz., for his significant contribution to my education on these issues.

Asset Protection with Offshore Trusts – The Cook Islands

OFFSHORE TRUSTSThis article is somewhat sensational (like most lay-articles on the subject of Asset Protection)  in that it focuses on the “bad users” but the science is still sound.

There are likely more people abusing tax deductions and self-directed IRAs than the kind of well timed and tax neutral offshore trust planning which we’ve helped 1000′s put in place legally.

I’m still a big believer in the Offshore Asset Protection Trust when done right. This means:

1.  Fully disclosed and with no abusive tax plan involved;

2.  Done by a professional; and

3. Done with no pending creditor issues.

SEE THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE HERE:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/COOKTRUST

 

See the

Key Legal Documents Everyone Facing a Divorce Must Update

DIVORCE

A common error after the expense and trauma of a divorce is not updating a variety of key legal and financial documents. You would not believe the number of estate plans and insurance policies that name an ex-spouse as the beneficiary of everything a client owns.

Jeff Landers of Bedrock Divorce advisors provides a great summary in the article linked below from FORBES.

SEE THE WHOLE STORY HERE:

http://tinyurl.com/DIVORCEUPDATES

 

 

 

 

Essential Legal and Financial Documents, an Emergency Checklist

VITAL LEGAL DOCUMENTSFinding key documents can be trying and laborious under the best circumstances, even with plenty of notice, like at tax time every year. Finding them under stress or worse, having to have someone else sort through the entirety of the paperwork you have hoarded after an emergency, death or other crisis is often impossible. This is the list of the most essential legal and financial paperwork that you should be able to lay hands on or instruct others to easily find.

The bare-bare bones documents everyone should have available

  1. Passports. Make sure they are current and useable. If your kid is off on a summer abroad and gets hurt, it will certainly be the wrong time to discover that your passport is expired (true story) and that you have to wait for the government to reopen and for your passport to be processed.

  2. Copies of other identification. Driver’s license, social security card or other legal forms of ID including a birth certificate that is often required to obtain other documents.

  3. Insurance policies. Life, Property, Liability, and Health are four most basic key areas, we’ve covered many more in previous articles .  I’d hate to go on what Allstate (or any carrier) felt like paying me on my homeowner’s policy on good faith alone if my home was damaged or lost in a flood or hurricane. Having a copy of these actual policies is key in demanding service, coverage and in enforcing the actual contract if required. Similarly, health insurance cards are often kept in places that can be lost or stolen, like wallets and purses – if you’ve ever sat in an emergency room and seen who gets treated first and how well, you’ll get this.

  4. Essential Corporate and Business Document Including Bank Statements. If you have corporate documents that control chain of command, ownership, title, account balances and succession, you better

    know where they are. I am continually amazed that how many doctors don’t have copies of their corporate documents, adding stress delay and expense when they are needed, as in a lawsuit between partners in a medical practice. In that case, you may be stuck with copies that may or may not be accurate.

  5. Mortgages and deeds. These are perhaps the most overlooked, lost and disrespected documents we come across. Odd since it is the single largest asset of many doctors.

  6. Medical records and prescriptions. This is the most subjective, but if you or a family member have a complex medical history or require prescription drugs to function at a basic level, having copies of the prescriptions at issue is essential, especially during emergencies.

  7. Estate Plan. We assume you have one, whether a basic will or a more sophisticated series of trust of various types and that you’ve updated it  and that you have avoided common mistakes. It does no good if we can’t find it and don’t know who’s in charge.

How and Where should they be stored?

The conventional wisdom, and likely they safest bet, is the bank in a safety deposit box. That said, it may be impractical or subject you to delays based on their hours and a variety of other conditions including the substantial limits on access by third party agents you may want to have possession. Would the person you send be able to get into the box, including your own children?

Home and office Storage. Invest in a safe that is both waterproof and fire rated to withstand most common house fires. “Too big” or “too expensive” is not a valid excuse for almost anyone reading this. Costco, as one example, has large fire-rated safes that will hold guns, laptops, jewelry and documents for as little as six hundred dollars, entry level small safes are a fraction of that cost.

Consider which documents are sufficient if you have a copy, like an insurance policy and which require originals, like a passport. Consider keeping the original paperwork for which copies are an acceptable substitute in the bank and the reproduced copies at home. The most prepared also have copies of documents they actually keep on hand at home (like passports) saved somewhere else as most of us don’t have those details recorded or memorized. Do you know your passport number by heart?

All my personal clients from this month forward will receive electronic copies of their documents, instructions, filings and signature pages on an encrypted “key drive” to help in this process. That drive also allows other documents to be added to it and is encrypted to a high security level.  Don’t make electronic copies the primary source; it limits you to times when you have power and computer/internet access, a significant variable for folks in a natural disaster, as one example.