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Protecting Your Personal Assets

Protecting Your Personal Assets

Even though you, as a shareholder of your own corporation, may not be responsible for the debts of the corporation since the corporation is a separate person, there is nothing to prevent someone from suing you personally for actions you performed. For instance, suppose you personally created an ad campaign for your corporation criticizing a competitor. The competitor views the campaign as malicious and untrue and decides to sue. They might sue your corporation and you, personally, as the creator of the ad. While you would not be liable for any settlement the corporation has to pay as a result of the suit, your personal assets could be attached to pay off any judgment the competitor won in its case against you the individual.

In addition, even though you might not technically be liable for the corporations debts, if you owned a very small corporation, chances are you would have to dig into your own personal bankroll to come up with the money to fight the lawsuit.

Thus incorporation does not necessarily prevent liability problems. One important step you can take to help protect your assets against loss is to obtain adequate liability insurance business property, professional errors and omissions, and product liability.

The other fallacy about incorporation is that somehow it protects you from paying off any bad debts the corporation incurs. But things rarely work that way. While you are not automatically responsible for the corporations debts the way you would be responsible for your sole proprietorship or partnership debts, rarely will you be able to get a loan for a new small corporation unless you sign a personal guarantee, which means that you, personally, will have to pay back the loan if the corporation defaults.