It’s not easy for most people to contemplate their own mortality. As a doctor, you are perhaps more aware than others about how fragile human life is than most. That’s why you want to make sure your family will be cared for and your wishes honoured in the event of your own passing.
Don’t put it off any longer.
Read these top tips on estate planning for doctors by medical accountant Kym Nitschke:
Update Your Will
Doctors are professionals and intelligent individuals. You’d think they’d be all over having their personal documents up-to-date. As you have probably realised by now, however, doctors can often be so busy that they forget to tend to such important personal matters.
Make sure that you not only have a Will but that it reflects your current situation and wishes. Clearly name the beneficiaries you want listed in your Will and check that other names aren’t accidentally added or left in. Name some backup beneficiaries, as well, in case your first choices predecease you. Other crucial documents include a Power of Attorney, an Advance Care Directive, net worth statements and papers appointing guardians and custodians for your children.
Consider a Testamentary Trust
A testamentary trust is a trust created within your Will. It adds another layer of protective control over the funds that are to go to your beneficiaries. Depending on the kind of trust you want to set up, you can leave your primary beneficiary with some control over the trust, or you can choose not to. This is often best in the event your primary beneficiary cannot make wise financial decisions due to age, disability or a history of poor spending decisions.
Testamentary trusts can both protect your assets and provide some tax advantages.
Prepare for Surprises
You might be surprised, for example, to find that not all of your assets are automatically covered in your Will. That’s why you need to be very familiar with the particulars of your Will and find out what you need to do to get the asset protection and benefits you want.
There’s also a rare but real possibility of something happening to you and your spouse at the same time, such as a car accident. Are you prepared for an unexpected event like that? It’s important to consider such possibilities, however unpleasant, to make sure that your estate planning accounts for everything.
Special Considerations for Doctors with Estate Planning
If you’re a medical professional who has a spouse and even children, careful estate planning now will save time and frustration later on. A solid estate plan can avoid time in probate, reduce or eliminate estate taxes and ease the emotional burden on your surviving family members.
Doctors’ estates can be a bit more complex to manage than those of people in other industries. There may be a larger amount in super to deal with and more assets to manage. Being organised now will make things easier after your passing.
You should be prepared to make your estate management an ongoing project. Update your Will and other critical documents every 18 months or whenever your life circumstances change. Your accountant can help you stay current with this process.
Of course, you must seek advice about your own, personal situation.
So don’t wait any longer. Start with a call you Nitschke Nancarrow, a specialist medical accounting and financial planning practice.
– Kym Nitschke
The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.
Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.Tags: doctor, estate planning, medical accountant, will