Bernard Madoff got his 150 years in the slammer for his ponzi scheme. That’s a life sentence by any book. I’m still interested to know how many of the billions he stole can be recovered. Who gets the benefit of his “work”? Ruth? The kids? Who gets what and what can be recovered will depend on how seriously the took the phrase protect your assets. It would be physically impossible for an individual to spend $65 Billion. There has to be assets someplace.

Most of the assets may be beyond the reach of the prosecutors. Yes, a lot of the assets may have gone offshore. The authorities can go get most of those. By the way, “offshore accounts” aren’t really a way to protect assets today. The US has a very long reach since the Patriot act was passed after 9/11. These days few if any are going to be protecting assets offshore. It is way too expensive, and it doesn’t give you the asset protection you are told that it will give you.

Bernie Madoff used corporations, trusts, and lots of legal tools to disperse the money he raked in. He put these legal entities in place years before he got in trouble. The money has dispersed through these entities, and it is largely gone. Our laws respect the entities, their structures, and owners. They are powerful ways to protect your assets. Trusts, which I discuss in detail in my popular book, Protecting Your Financial Future, are some of the most powerful legal tools. Yes, there are a lot of trusts sheltering illegal proceeds in Bernie’s life.

There’s no reason you can’t protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, taxes and the other sharks that want to get your hard earned money. The important thing is to take action before your run into trouble. Otherwise the court and your creditors will get it all back. Don’t wait to put your affairs in order.

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