Estate Planning and Asset Protection for Physicians in Michigan

One of the main goals for many individuals who engage in estate planning in Michigan is protecting their assets for their children and future generations. They want to ensure that their legacy is protected during their lifetime and after their death. However, asset protection strategies need to be more complex for certain individuals, including certain professionals in high-liability industries. Physicians have unique challenges in protecting their assets. With the help of a Michigan estate planning attorney, physicians can avoid common asset protection mistakes that can be costly for them and their families.

Five Common Asset Protection Mistakes by Physicians

  • Not Having Sufficient Liability Insurance

Medical malpractice insurance is expensive, but it is a necessary cost of doing business. Physicians should carry maximum coverage to protect their personal assets. However, some physicians fail to obtain enough personal liability insurance to cover accidents that might occur away from work. Physicians need a large umbrella liability insurance policy to cover accidents involving their vehicles or personal property that might not be covered by underlying auto and home insurance policies.

  • Using a Living Trust to Hold Assets

It is a common estate planning myth that placing assets in a Living Trust will protect those assets from the grantor’s creditors. Assets in a Living Trust are not protected from your creditors during your lifetime. An irrevocable trust can provide the asset protection that a physician needs and desires. There are several types of irrevocable trusts that might be utilized by a Michigan estate planning attorney to provide maximum asset protection.

  • Leaving Assets Directly to Heirs

The goal of most estate plans is the effective transfer of assets to heirs upon a person’s death. However, transferring assets to your heirs can place those assets in jeopardy. Your heirs’ creditors can seize those assets to pay for debts incurred by your heirs. The assets are also subject to bankruptcy actions, debt collection lawsuits, and divorces involving your heirs. Instead, you might want to consider trusts for your heirs. The property remains in the trust for the use and benefit of your heirs while maintaining a higher level of asset protection for your legacy.

  • Incorrectly Titling Assets

Some physicians may assume that titling assets jointly is the best way to avoid probate and reduce their taxable estate. However, titling assets jointly also exposes the assets to the debts and liabilities of the co-owner. It also places the asset at risk during a divorce or bankruptcy filed by the co-owner. Also, physicians might place assets in a spouse’s name to avoid personal liability. Unfortunately, that might not always work. It is best to develop asset protection strategies within an estate plan for maximum protection from personal liability.

  • Failing to Work with an Experienced Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

It may be tempting to use your practice’s law firm to draft a will, contact a friend who is an attorney, or simply prepare a DIY estate plan you find online. Unfortunately, you may realize too late that taking a shortcut cost far more than investing in legal counsel from an experienced estate planning attorney in Michigan.

You would not advise your patients to search online for home remedies or allow a general practitioner to perform open-heart surgery. Medical treatment is best provided by a physician who is trained and experienced in that specific area of medicine. The same is true regarding legal matters. If you want to know that you are receiving the best estate planning advice, talk to the best estate planning attorney in Michigan. Click here for The Physician’s Guide to Optimizing the 5 Critical Elements of Your Financial Strategy Certified Elder Law Attorney in Michigan.

Christopher J. Berry is just one of 17 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in Michigan. You can trust that the legal counsel you receive to take the right steps for you and your family.

The attorneys of The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA have extensive experience handling high-net-worth estates and estates involving special matters. Call 888-390-4360 or use the contact form on our website to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

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