Review Your Estate Plan Before It's Too Late
At Altfest, we want to help our clients avoid the agony of an outdated or improper estate plan.
Perhaps you have an estate plan created years ago by the family attorney. While the plan may have been sound and relevant at the time, your family situation, medical practice, assets and tax laws may have all undergone significant changes since it was drafted.
Many of us also have had the unfortunate experience of having to administer a loved one’s estate because proper planning wasn’t completed, or the plan hadn’t been updated appropriately. Is worrying about whether the same will happen to your heirs keeping you up at night? Here are some actions you can take now to help provide peace of mind.
What estate planning can mean for physicians
When speaking with prospective and existing clients, we often receive the same questions: How will my estate plan work? Which document does which job? Will my family be forced to pay taxes? How can I make sure my family is equipped with the understanding, knowledge and support to administer my estate?
We often find that clients — especially busy healthcare professionals — have not given enough thought to preparing their family to survive them. It’s incredibly important to involve surviving family members in discussions surrounding an estate plan. Doing so allows for open and frank discussion regarding changes to family situations, the future of an established practice, tax laws and even a client’s wishes for their assets. We can help clients and their families create, monitor and revise an estate plan so all parties feel comfortable and secure with the planned succession of assets.
Preparing your family for wealth
It’s important to prepare your family and heirs for a wealth transfer after you pass away.
Altfest advisors work with clients to arrange for members of their family to be ready for inheritance and to be the best decision makers possible regarding financial and medical judgments that may need to be made. It’s critical for children or other executors to know your wishes for how end-of-life choices should be handled.
This process can be confusing and complex, but it becomes less daunting if you and your heirs are prepared with the right legal documents. For example, Altfest advisors and estate planning experts can help you complete a letter of intent for your assets after death and a DNR order, if desired.
We also can give recommendations on setting up a trust for your heirs, which can help ensure your assets are used in the way you intended beyond your lifetime.
To put this important preparation in motion, Altfest suggests you bring your children in to meet your financial advisor, estate attorney and accountant, to establish connections and avoid surprises later. Doing this can help your children or other heirs understand the tax implications of a transition of your wealth as well.
Once those steps are taken, Altfest can continue to advise you as a medical professional and your entire family on wise estate planning strategy for years to come.
In private practice? Know your worth
An element of estate planning for some physicians that Altfest can assist with involves preparing to transition a private practice as you age and look forward to retirement.
Questions to ask as you move into this phase are: How much is my practice worth? How can I find out about valuation? How can I protect the value of my practice if I were to die prematurely? And how will selling or transferring my practice affect my estate plan?
How an Altfest advisor can help
Altfest financial advisors have years of experience working on estate planning with healthcare professionals. We welcome you to reach out when you’re ready to discuss a transition for your hard-earned practice, or to review your estate plan to ensure you and your family are prepared appropriately.
This article was designed to complement the discussion and should not be a complete resource for this topic. Altfest Personal Wealth Management does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. In considering this material, you should discuss your individual circumstances with professionals in those areas before making any decisions.