Planning for Physicians

Why Should Physicians Have Estate Planning And How To Prepare an Inheritance Without Probate?

As a physician, you have worked hard to get where you are. You have made countless sacrifices and put in long hours to achieve your goals. Now that you have reached a point of financial stability, it is essential to think about the future and how you can protect your assets. It is where estate planning comes in.

Estate planning is creating a plan for distributing your assets after you die. It covers everything from your house to your savings and investment portfolio. Any outstanding bills are included as well.

The unpleasant truth is that doctors have a higher risk of suffering than most professionals. High-income taxes and the ever-present danger of malpractice charges put physicians and their families under a financial strain, both during their lives and after their death.

You wanted to be a doctor to assist people, but long shifts and high-stress levels take their toll, and caring for others might come at the expense of your health and those closest to you. If you have children and a family, estate planning is one of the most crucial actions you may take to safeguard them. It is essential for every physician, regardless of age or wealth, to have an estate plan in place. An estate plan ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and not left to the state to decide.

Prepare Your Inheritance and Avoid Probate Costs

These are some of the steps you can take to help you prepare your inheritance and avoid probate costs:

1. Make a will:

A will is a legal document stating how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. Without a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets, which may not align with your wishes.

2. Create a trust:

A trust is a legal entity that holds assets on behalf of another person. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including estate planning. Trusts can be used to avoid probate and manage your assets after you die.

3. Create a Net Worth Statement:

A net worth statement is a document that lists all of your assets and liabilities. It will give you an idea of your overall financial picture and help you make informed estate planning decisions.

4. Create a Revocable Trust

It is an important stage for physicians with young children. If you die without a will or trust in place, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. Your assets will be divided among your spouse and children according to a predetermined order. If the value of your estate exceeds the estate tax exemption threshold, you will need to consult with an attorney about additional estate planning methods. You'll also need to name a licensed Special Trustee to run the practice until it's sold if you operate your practice. A revocable trust will not prevent malpractice claims against you, so be sure to talk about that with your lawyer.

5. Create a Buy-Sell Agreement:

Doctors who are partners in medical practice should have a buy-sell agreement. This document outlines what will happen to the business if one of the partners dies or becomes disabled.

Planning for Physicians

6. Purchase life insurance:

Life insurance can help pay off debts, replace lost income, and fund your child's education. It can also support a buy-sell agreement or pay estate taxes.

7. Establish an Asset Protection Trust:

An asset protection trust is a legal entity that can hold assets on behalf of another person. A trust can help you avoid bankruptcy and seizure by shielding your assets from creditors and litigation.

8. Review your beneficiary designations:

Make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date. These include things like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and annuities.

9. Make Provisions for Your Partner:

The Doctor's Partner Planning Guide provides information on how to make provisions for your partner in the event of your death.

Estate Planning Is An Essential Component for Physicians

Estate planning is an essential component for physicians. It helps to ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and not left to the state to decide. Planning for your death may seem morbid, but it is a necessary part of life. By taking the time to plan now, you can save your loved ones from a lot of stress and heartache later.

There are also a few additional issues for physicians when structuring their medical practice correctly. Doctors aren't insured against medical negligence by forming an LLC or corporation, unlike other businesses. If you want to protect your assets, you'll need to create a separate legal entity for your practice. 

Estate planning can also assist you in managing what will happen to your practice if you become ill or are injured and how to handle your death.

Why would Physicians want to avoid probate?

Probate is the legal process of distributing a person's assets after they die. If you die without a will or trust in place, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. It can be a lengthy and costly process. By establishing a revocable trust, you may also avoid probate.

Your loved ones need to go through probate before accessing your assets if you have a will. It can take months or even years. If you have a trust in place, your trustee can access the purchases immediately upon your death.

Probate is a public process. The court records are available to anyone who wants to see them. If you're going to keep your estate private, you should consider avoiding probate.

The probate process requires a lot of paperwork. Your executor will need to file court documents, submit tax returns, and keep track of your assets. It can be a daunting task, especially if you don't have a background in law or accounting. Furthermore, the probate process can be expensive. You'll need to pay for an attorney, an executor, and other professional fees.

How can legal counsel from an attorney help you?

An attorney can help you navigate the estate planning process. They can help you create a will, trust, or other legal documents. They can also help you understand the tax implications of your estate plan.

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made significant changes to the tax laws. These changes may impact your estate plan. An attorney can help you understand how these changes will affect you and your loved ones.

Planning for your death may seem morbid, but it is a necessary part of life. By taking the time to plan now, you can save your loved ones from a lot of stress and heartache later.

The new tax laws have created many opportunities for taxpayers to save money on their taxes. An attorney can help you take advantage of these opportunities.

For example, the new law increases the money passed on to your heirs free of estate taxes. If you structure your estate correctly, you can save your loved ones significant money in taxes.

Although planning for your death may appear dreadful, it is an inevitable part of life. Taking the time to plan now can spare your loved ones a lot of worry and heartache later. There are several advantages to having an estate plan, including avoiding probate, keeping your assets private, and lowering taxes for you and your family. An attorney can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and ensures that your wishes are carried out.

If you have any further queries regarding setting up an estate plan for a doctor, or if you're a doctor looking for skilled legal counsel, please get in touch with us on our contact page.

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Palm Desert Law Group, APC

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Palm Desert, CA 92260

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