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What Physicians Need to Consider About Estate Planning

There comes a time during a physician’s career when they will need to consider estate planning. Death is never a comfortable subject, but it is a necessary discussion. Most physicians are on a career path that will lead them to higher than average income. Many will have property, retirement accounts, other types of assets as well as minor children and more. They will need to make certain their loved ones will be protected and able to maintain the lifestyle that’s been established for them.

Beneficiaries

One of the first things involved with estate planning is determining beneficiaries. It is possible to determine primary as well as contingent beneficiaries. It does not matter how it is determined who is a beneficiary. The important thing is to have it explicitly stated in writing. This will avoid confusion.

Executor

The next step is to identify an executor for the estate. This will be the designated personal representative for a physician’s estate. They will pay the debts of an estate, distribute assets to beneficiaries and more. It is not required for them to be an attorney or legal expert. An executor should be a person the physician knows well. It should be a person a physician can trust to fulfill their personal wishes.

Determine Net Worth

Proper estate planning involves reviewing all of a physician’s assets and determining what they want to happen with them upon their death. A physician’s assets minus their debts will equal their net worth. The amount of assets that exceed a physician’s debts is the money that can be distributed among the heirs.

Attorney

The next step is to hire an attorney. This is especially important for the size and complexity of a physician’s estate. They will understand a physician’s time spent in the planning process must be maximized. This will save money with legal fees.

Review

Once a physician has an estate plan in place, it is a good idea they regularly review it. There are certain things in everyone’s life that change. Liabilities and assets often change. There are also life events to consider. Physicians often get married, divorced, have children and more. When these life events occur, it may be time to change or update an estate plan. Keeping an estate plan current insures all of a physician’s last wishes are in writing.

Will Not Enough

Many physicians may have a will, but it won’t be sufficient for effective estate planning. There are often many types of assets that can be transferred using a living trust. There should also be a health-care directive and more.

Health Directive

This will provide what treatments a physician will want in the event of an emergency. They can list what treatments they refuse. A health directive is a legally binding document. It provides a way to instruct medical personnel what to do in case a physician isn’t able to tell them.

Living Trust

This is a document created when a physician is alive. It manages specific assets should the physician become incapacitated. A living trust enables a person’s assets to be available to them until their death.

Pets

Pets can be considered part of estate planning. It can be made to cover the costs of a physician’s pets if anything happens to them. This will require designating a guardian for the pets.

Estate planning for physicians is understood to be delicate. Most physicians have a high income but may also have high student loan amounts. With proper estate planning, a physician can protect their assets, loved ones and make certain their liabilities are addressed The legal professionals as Judy Ann Smith Law Firm understand the estate planning needs of physicians. These legal professionals have important experience and knowledge when it comes to estate planning. They can make certain all of a physician’s end of life goals are addressed and more.

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