Physicians, optometrists, ENTs, dentists, and other kinds of doctors are certainly some of the smartest professionals out there—at least on matters that relate to their own fields. Even the most successful doctor can make costly mistakes when it comes to estate planning that protects their practice, partners, assets, and families and saves their estate money in taxes and probate costs after their deaths. We see some of the same mistakes made by our clients who are doctors, so we want to share them to help you avoid common pitfalls.
Why Are Doctors Different From Other Professionals?
The number one mistake made by doctors is the same as it is for everyone else—failing to have an estate plan at all. However, doctors have additional concerns that many other people don’t, including having a high net worth, owning a business, and being at risk of being sued. For these reasons, it’s vital that chiropractors, psychologists, podiatrists, dermatologists, and other medical professionals work with an estate planning attorney who is experienced in creating plans for doctors.
Top Five Estate Planning Mistakes Made by Doctors
When you meet with the team at Littlejohn Law, we will help you revise your current plan or create a new plan that avoids these common mistakes:
- Not having an asset protection trust. If you are sued for medical malpractice—even if you have insurance—your personal assets could be vulnerable. Putting assets into certain kinds of trusts could be the solution.
- Not naming a power of attorney agent. Despite advising their patients to have healthcare powers of attorney, many doctors don’t have them. Perhaps it’s because they feel invincible but, whatever the reason, it is essential that doctors have an agent who can make medical and financial decisions on their behalf if they are unable to.
- Not planning for the succession of your practice. For many medical professionals, the bulk of their assets are tied up in their practice. Making a plan for what will happen if you die suddenly or become incapacitated is a vital part of your estate plan.
- Failing to do tax planning. The estates of high net-worth individuals and business owners will owe a lot in taxes upon the person’s death if proper estate planning to avoid taxes had not been done.
- Settling for a generic estate plan. Downloading forms from the internet or working with a lawyer who has no experience planning for doctors can leave your estate and your family vulnerable when you die.
When you meet with an estate planning attorney who regularly works with doctors, you won’t have to worry about asking about these kinds of issues. At Littlejohn Law, it is part of our process to go over all of the variables that could impact your estate as a medical professional and business owner.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Today
We understand that it’s a tough time for doctors right now. Limiting patients, implementing new health protocols, and worrying about the safety of your staff and yourself have made the last year difficult. However, these are also the reasons that it is so important to make sure you have an adequate estate plan. With remote conferencing options and document delivery services, we can help you in an efficient and non-disruptive manner. Reach out to our office to learn more today.