Top 5 Estate Planning Tips for Physicians
By: Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
November 2, 2021
As a successful working physician, you want to leave your practice in order as a legacy for your family. In addition to shielding assets, you also need to ensure that your medical practice is protected pre- and post-mortem.
Consult these 5 estate planning tips as a guide for proper planning. Getting yourself on track to meet long-term goals will help you feel more secure and confident in the present.
How To Protect Your Medical Practice
Use a Trust. You want to set up your estate plan to avoid significant taxes, chaos, court, costs, conflict (litigation), and a host of unpleasant and destructive surprises. Relying on a last will and testament frequently isn’t enough.
Consider preparing a revocable trust — and possibly an irrevocable trust — to better protect your assets. Trusts alone generally do not protect your assets, but when used in conjunction with other vehicles to accomplish asset protection, they can be invaluable tools.
Plan for Incapacity. It’s important to set up your plan to include advanced care directives and business management agreements. These will steer decisions in the event that you become incapacitated or disabled.
Work to Minimize Taxes. It’s important to keep up with tax law changes to understand how they’ll affect your business in estate planning.
This is where you can really benefit from getting an estate planning attorney in your corner. Our job is to keep up with all of the ever-changing facets of state and federal laws, and our goal is to help you minimize taxes.
Get the Right Insurance. As a physician, you not only need medical malpractice insurance — you should have disability insurance as well. We want to help you ensure it’s all covered: your career, income, assets, family, and your practice.
Define Your Business Structure and Succession Plan. After the first step of business structure planning, another key aspect is business ownership. Is the business owned by an individual, a trust, or another entity?
It’s important to discuss your situation and goals with your attorney, because some structures are hard to fix if done improperly. It’s also important to dot your I’s and cross your T’s in management and operations. If you pass away, consider these questions:
- How will the business continue?
- Will it be sold instead?
- Do you want it to be sold for the maximum value for your family… or in a fire sale?
- If it continues, consider who are the key players?
- How have you planned to keep key players at the business? In what capacities they will be involved?
No one understands better than a physician that death comes to us all. The least we can do is to prepare. All of these tips tie together a solid estate plan to achieve your legacy goals. On the flip side, the lack of a plan or a poor plan could send your family and partners scrambling to gather information and endure the lengthy probate process.
With our unique, proven, 4-step process, leaving a proud legacy is easier than you think. Schedule a call now to get started.
Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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