Image via WikipediaMr. Sutton, esq., wrote a very nice article in "The Real Book of Real Estate" about asset protection. I will go into a tiny bit of that. Please keep in mind, he is the attorney, I am not. So this is NOT legal advice. And to read the whole thing, you need to get that book (there's a link at the end to Amazon.com). However, here's a taste, just a tiny bit.
So what do you need to know about asset protection when it comes to real-estate? A lot, and the earlier you know the better. Basically, it is to setup a 'separate you' to own the properties, so that what happens to 'separate you' will not wipe you out, and vice versa.
First of all, asset protection is an overall strategy, one that starts when you invest, not something tacked onto it much later. You should have the entities that you will use setup before you invest. After all, a corporation is just a few pieces of paper and some annual paperwork. You can have it setup way ahead of time.