Understand the importance of setting up an estate plan.
Q. I have been in practice for 2 years and have not yet drawn up an estate plan. What would happen to our two small children and property if I (or my wife and I) died before doing this?
A. An estate plan, in the form of a will and a revocable living trust, is essential to making sure you control how your estate is disposed following your death. This includes your ownership stake in a medical practice, should you acquire one. That's because most practices require that a partner's shares be sold back to the practice in the event of his or her death. Without a revocable living trust, however, your interest in the practice may first have to go to probate court, which will delay your heirs from realizing proceeds of the sale.
On the personal side, lack of an estate plan means you and your spouse (if she doesn't survive you) won't have a say in who gets custody of your children, at what age they may obtain their inheritances, or whether part of your estate can go to someone other than your children. In short, this is a task you should not put off.
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. Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Robert Kaufer, JD, Kaufer Law Firm, LLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota,