Top 6 Estate Planning Tips for Veterinarians
By: Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
October 19, 2021
As a successful veterinarian, you want to protect the success and stability of your veterinary practice. In order to gain peace of mind, it helps to know that you’re prepared and in control.
It’s important to ensure your practice is protected before and after death. For this purpose, we’re providing six estate planning tips as a guide to properly plan how to meet your goals. You should also check out our Estate Plan Suitability Checklist. This will help ensure that you feel accomplished and confident at the end of the day.
How to Meet Your Estate Planning Goals as a Veterinarian
Trust. Setting up your estate plan properly will help avoid the time and costs of probate. A last will and testament alone isn’t always enough to bypass probate. Consider preparing a revocable trust and possibly an irrevocable trust to better protect your assets.
Pets. Your pets are your family, and they should be provided for in your plan. With the right protections, they will be safe and cared-for should something happen to you.
Incapacity. It’s important to set up your plan to include advanced care directives and business management agreements. In the event you become incapacitated or disabled, your business will need to continue.
Tax. Keep up with tax law changes to understand how it will affect your business in estate planning. Our goal is to help you minimize taxes.
Insurance. As a veterinarian, you not only need malpractice insurance — you should also maintain disability and long-term care insurance. Through this, we aim to help protect your career, your income, your assets, and your practice.
Business structure and succession. Ensuring your business is operating under a correct and functional structure is just the first step in business structure planning. Another key aspect is whether the business is owned individually, by a trust, or by another entity.
It’s important to discuss your situation and goals with your attorney, because some structures are hard to fix once executed improperly. It’s also important to ensure all of your i’s are dotted and t’s crossed when it comes to management and operations.
If you pass away, consider these questions: how will the business continue? Instead, will it be sold? Do you want it to be sold for the maximum value for your family or in a fire sale? If it continues, consider who the key players are and how you plan to retain them in the business, as well as in what capacities they will be involved.
All of these tips link together to create a solid estate plan that will achieve your goals and leave a legacy. If you don’t have a plan, then you may leave your family and partners scrambling to gather information, and they will have to endure the probate process.
With our 4-step, unique, proven process, leaving a proud legacy is easier than you think. It beats the alternative: significant taxes, chaos, court, costs, conflict (litigation), and a host of unpleasant and destructive surprises.
Schedule a call now to get started.
Cristin Gerczak, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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