It is that time of year again when everyone and their brother is trying to get you to do your year end planning.  Your suppliers want you to buy new equipment, your accountant is rightfully giving you great year end advice for your income tax situation, your staff is helping you plan the Holiday party for the office, and you’re planning your thank you’s for your professional colleagues and patients.  ALL important tasks.  But what about your loved ones-aren’t they the most important people you should be planning for?

So this is just a sobering reminder of the importance of a dentist having their Estate Plan in place at all times. Otherwise you risk mayhem to take hold and your heirs being financially damaged at a time when they are trying to deal with the emotional trauma of your passing.

So what should you be thinking about? Well  if you are an employee your life is less complicated.  You need to make sure you have a current and accurate Will or Revocable Trust and Pour over Will that reflects your current circumstances.  This should be accompanied by a well thought out Financial Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney. Many of my clients have two Financial Power of Attorneys, one for the business affairs and one for personal affairs. You should also review and update your retirement account’s beneficiary designations and review your life insurance to be sure your family needs will be taken care of if your are gone.  With the life insurance be sure you review with your attorney the owner and beneficiary of those policies to be sure your family is getting the most bang for your bucks.

If you are an owner or partner all the above applies but you also need to be planning for the sale, liquidation and buyout of your practice or practices.  This is not something your family wants to have to figure out at your death. If you are within ten years of retirement you need to be planning for this eventuality anyway.  You also want to be thinking about having a continuum of care for your patients during a temporary or permanent disability or death.

Let me suggest that you take the week between Christmas and New Years to set aside time and take stock in your situation, call your advisor and make an appointment to have a review.

Happy Planning and Happy Holidays!!!!!

This document is intended to provide information of general interest and is not intended to offer legal advice about specific situations.  The author does not intend to create an attorney-client relationship by offering this information, and anyone’s review of the information shall not be deemed to create such a relationship.  You should consult a lawyer if you have legal matters requiring attention.