Today's Guest: Doug Lodmell
Doug Lodmell is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Lodmell & Lodmell, one of the nation’s leading Asset Protection Law Firms. Today, Doug’s law firm is responsible for protecting over $4 billion in client assets. He is originally from Geneva, Switzerland, and he stood out at an early age as one of the brightest minds of his generation. Doug spends much of his time teaching, speaking, and leading thousands of professionals in business in Scottsdale, AZ. He is also the author of The Lawsuit Lottery: The Hijacking of Justice in America and was recently featured in BiggerPockets.
Highlights From The Show:
We begin the episode with Doug sharing his background story and what he does as an attorney. Doug shares that he started practicing with his father. His father was an attorney for many years but didn’t practice law. He was in real estate syndications, but the 1986 real estate crash steered him toward asset protection after the banks failed to reach him even though he had assets in the syndication. When Doug graduated from law school in 1997, he joined him, and they grew the practice along with his brother, which is also their foundation as real estate investors. They all have a deep understanding of real estate and asset protection and how it all works together.
We then talk about what you can do in asset protection to ensure you are doing the right thing. According to Doug, when you start investing, you should keep one concept in mind. The safe part of your life and the risk part of your life should be as separate as possible. The safe part of your life is simply the safe assets you hold. They include your cash in the bank, stocks, bonds, cryptocurrency, etc. You have to keep them in a separate legal entity from assets that can create liability. A home you are flipping can create liability; you have workers, equipment, and a house that can fall or burn down. Doug says the first legal entity you should understand is a Limited Liability Company or LLC. Its purpose is to help you limit liabilities.
Next, we discuss why you should buy your first property in an LLC and not in C-corp or S-Corp. Doug shares that an LLC and a corporation are two different legal entities, but you can have an LLC taxed as a C-corp, S-corp, partnership, or disregarded entities. According to Doug, the reason it’s always going to be an LLC for asset protection is that LLC has members, and they can create restrictions on who can be a member, which can help eliminate entire classes of people from ever becoming a member. Corporations, on the other hand, are not membership entities. They are shareholder entities and have no way to exclude anybody from becoming a shareholder.
We then talk about the volume of properties you can hold in one LLC. Doug shares that when you are flipping, you get your property in LLC, but after flipping, it’s out of the LLC, and the LLC is empty again. According to Doug, you can use that LLC as many times as you want, but as long as that LLC is alive, it has all the hangover liability from any deal it ever did. Doug advises that you should always pick a number that you are comfortable with, such as 10, do the 10 flips in that LLC and then let the LLC die a natural death to start a new one. Why? If a deal goes bad and they come to you years later, you want the lawsuits to be on an LLC that is empty, not in use, and dying its natural death as opposed to your current LLC with properties in it. LLCs are easy and inexpensive to form, so you should often kill your LLCs if you are in high-risk activities such as flipping houses.
Next, we talk about a holding company and the importance of having one from a legal standpoint. Doug shares that a holding company can be an LLC, but Doug recommends using a limited partnership, and a lot of syndication deals use limited partnerships instead of LLCs. You should also select a favorable state, and he recommends Ari