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Can a good asset protection plan make you a better Doctor?

Posted by Larry Jones on Mar 13, 2018 9:30:00 AM
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Want to take a guess at what the number one worry of Physicians is?

When a CPA makes a mistake it may result in the client being audited. When an engineer makes an error, it's usually something that can be corrected. But when a doctor makes a mistake, it can result in death for his patient. This is the greatest fear of every Physician. To make matters even worse, lawsuits against the medical profession are running rampant. Why is this so?

The general public believes that doctors live on easy street. While it's true that physicians usually make an above average living, it's also true that they have some significant worries that most of us don't have. Salaries for doctor's have declined significantly in the last ten years, and surveys have indicated that the number one concern facing this group of professionals today is what to do about frivolous and runaway lawsuits, along with high jury awards that can potentially wipe out their personal wealth. Now that's a concern that most of us don't have.

But does this worry affect patient care?

The High Cost of Litigation

1. The Costs of Excessive Testing

The possibility of missing something is always uppermost in the mind of a physician. Is it possible that they may order more tests than necessary in order to protect themselves from litigation? Of course.  According to an Archives of Internal Medicine survey in 2010 ninety percent of physicians surveyed said doctors overtest and overtreat to protect themselves from malpractice lawsuits.

2. The Costs of Overtreatment

The tendency to overtreat patients exists, again due to the fear of potential lawsuits. Better safe than sorry.  The overuse of prescription drugs can lead to more illness due to overlapping side-effects. An increase in scheduled visits for the same illness for additional tests and follow-ups will push costs. Add to these the cutbacks on reimbursements because of ever-increasing government regulation, and you can see the approaching dark cloud from the doctor's point-of-view.

3. Physician Burnout

Have you noticed a decrease in the amount of time your doctor spends with you? It's not his fault. A BYU study suggests that the number of hours physicians work each week is strongly influenced by the fear that they have of malpractice lawsuits. Also, the costs of malpractice insurance coverage is exploding. This, coupled with an absolutely amazing increase in government regulation is causing many doctors to make significant lifestyle choices, such as closing private practices and going to work for large hospital systems, retiring early, or even not entering the profession at all. 

The point is that defensive medicine takes a huge toll on the doctor and patient alike!

What is Asset Protection, and how does it help?

Doctors go to work everyday with the knowledge that one mistake could wipe out everything they've ever worked for!

Asset protection is simply a plan to protect the physician's assets from creditors in case of litigation. A properly constructed plan will protect the family home, any rental properties, non-rental properties, stocks and mutual funds, bank assets, IRA's and other retirement accounts, automobiles, planes, boats,waverunners and motorcycles, other business entities the physician may have, accounts receivable, and any future inheritance for the family. A very good asset protection plan can be implemented for between $3000-12000 and I believe is some of the best money ever spent by a physician.

The goal with asset protection is to protect your assets before a lawsuit and keep the assets after the lawsuit is over. The properly drafted and executed plan has been described by some physicians as "lifting the weight of the world off my shoulders," and relieves the doctor from having to worry about losing everything, which frees him or her up to provide optimum medical care.

Note: None of the above should be construed as legal advice. While a good financial planner may act as a part of the team, any recommendations and implementation should be verified by an attorney knowledgable in the subject of asset protection.


Topics: Asset Protection: Freeing Doctors to Help Patients

What you don't know can hurt you!

As a fiduciary I am required to always act in your best interests, and as a professional planner, it's my job to be familiar with all types of possible solutions and financial vehicles. In short, I have no interest in selling any particular product or any affiliation with a particular company. I work for my clients.

Are you:

  • concerned that your tax bill is too high?
  • tired of watching your nest egg decline by significant amounts every 5-7 years?
  • wishing you could find more free time?
  • looking for ways to help protect yourself against litigation that could destroy all you have worked for?
  • worried that Uncle Sam is going to enjoy your retirement more than you are?

If any of the above describes you and you'd like to get a question answered then just click the button below and we'll be in touch.

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