While this may sound incredible, most affluent and successful people, including most doctors, (even those who earn $300,000+ a year or those who have amassed $1,000,000 or more in assets) do not have a proper estate plan or asset protection plan. Here is what I have learned over years of doing seminars for doctors. (The numbers below are out of a group of 10 attendees.) . 1-2 will NOT have a simple will . 7-8 will NOT have Durable Powers of Attorney . 5-6 will NOT have marital living trusts . 9-10 will NOT have a Family Limited Partnership (FLP) . 8-9 will NOT have an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) The need for estate planning documents is obvious. You need a will, especially if you have minor children, to make sure the appropriate people receive custody of the children in the event of a terrible accident killing both parents. You need durable powers to make sure the living spouse or other loved ones do not have to go to court to make life sustaining decisions or to sign legal documents for someone who is incapacitated. Living trusts are needed to maximize estate tax exemptions and to avoid probate. FLPs are needed to centralize governance of family assets and discount the value of the estate for estate tax purposes. An ILIT is needed to pass the death benefit to your heirs estate tax free. If you do not have the above mentioned tools you need a checkup. What about asset protection planning? Ask yourself the following: 1. Do you have real estate owned in your own name? 2. Do you own stocks or bond in your own name? 3. Do you have significant equity in your personal residence and do not live in a state like TX or FL, which asset protects the home’s value? 4. If you have a boat, waverunner, snow mobile, plane, etc, are they owned by a multi-member FLLC? If you answered no to any or all of the above questions, you need a checkup. What about tax planning? Ask yourself the following: 1. Are you paying too much in income taxes? 2. Do you have highly appreciated real estate or stocks you would like to sell but don’t because of the capital gains taxes? 3. Have you had a review of your qualified retirement plan (if you have one) since the Pension Protection Act was passed (which makes it easier to put more money away tax-deferred for business owners while minimizing contributions for staff)? If you answered yes to 1 and 2 and/or no to question 3, you need a checkup. Why isn’t your estate and asset protection plan already done? Many doctors, and other busy successful people, do not allocate time to getting their plans in order because they are too busy, it’s too confusing or they are afraid of getting scammed or receiving bad advice. None these are valid excuses. If you have any assets not protected from creditors, now is the perfect time to take action to protect them. Why? Because when the economy struggles, personal injury lawsuits increase. You should never be too busy to act to protect your wealth (which is also your family’s wealth) from creditors. If you do not understand the plans offered to you by the advisors who want to help you protect and grow your wealth, do not implement them. Doctors who made it through medical school should have no problem understanding an asset protection, estate or wealth building plan put forth by an advisor. (I should know, I educate advisors on some of the most advanced planning strategies available today, but I have no problems communicating how such plans work to the doctors I work with.) It is true that doctors are notorious for getting scammed. I’m sure everyone knows a doctor who’s either been pitched something that turned out to be a scam or one who actually invested in one. I know this will sound obvious, but if you are pitched something that doesn’t pass the smell test or sounds too good to be true, don’t buy into it. Get started today If you don’t think your estate plan is in order, your assets are protected from creditors or if you are you paying too much in taxes, start protecting your wealth now. For advanced planning, make sure you to do your due diligence on the advisors you work with; and remember, if it doesn’t pass your smell test, don’t bite. Life is too short to have problems with the IRS or Federal Government over a too-good-to-be-true plan. Copyright (c) 2010 Mitch Levin About the Author: Mitch Levin, MD, CWPPtm, CAPPtm, CEO & Managing Director of Summit Wealth – Florida Division, a Registered Investment Advisory firm. Summit Wealth is dedicated to "empowering investors to build, protect, and preserve their prosperity through their own Financial Fortress." For more information about Mitch Levin visit ..mysummitwealth.. Article Published On: 相关的主题文章: