Each year more and more doctors are leaving their practices because of the endless hassles with insurance and lawsuits. Many doctors will carry malpractice insurance to cover an unforeseen circumstance, but unfortunately for doctor’s, liability insurance is not a 100% guarantee. Furthermore, malpractice insurance is very costly.
Why are doctor’s targets for lawsuit? Its common sense. The average doctor is perceived to be wealthy which makes them a higher risk target.
Asset Protection safeguards your hard-earned assets and places them beyond the reach of creditors or litigants. If you do not have any exposed assets you are much less likely to be the target of someone’s get rich quick lawsuit scheme. Additionally, the number of attorneys who are willing to take a case on contingency drops drastically when they see there are no available assets to chase after.
There are four main strategies for protecting the doctor’s assets.
1. Utilize your state’s financial planning exemptions. Each state has a list of assets which cannot be claimed by a creditor thereby making them exempt assets. A state like Florida protects your primary home, life insurance, annuities, retirement accounts, etc. Converting your nonexempt assets into exempt assets is a great first step. Find out what assets are exempt in your state here: List of Financial Planning Exemptions By State – THIS DOESN’T WORK
2. Make sure that all risk producing assets such as real estate or toys like boats, cars, planes, golf carts are not titled in your personal name. Put your liability producing assets in an LLC. You can then add an additional layer of protection by having your LLC owned by a different entity.
3. If you are married and live in a state that recognizes tenancy by the entirety (TBE), you can protect your assets by titling them TBE. Under TBE the assets of both spouses are not subject to the creditor claims of a single spouse. Be cautious if you are considering this and don’t title liability producing assets like a car or a boat TBE, as a lawsuit originating against one of these assets would create exposure to anything else you have listed under TBE. Find out if TBE is recognized in your state here: Tenancy By The Entirety States
4. For doctors who want additional protection, you can use international strategies. There isn’t a black and white line on when you should or shouldn’t invest in international Asset Protection. It is more costly than domestic Asset Protection but has a much higher level of protection.
Bonus tip: If you own a practice personally that brings in significant revenue a powerful tool you could utilize would be a Captive Insurance Company (CIC.) A CIC is an insurance company you own and
control. You would set up CIC to ensure risk that might not be readily available by public insurance companies or in times when the cost of coverage for those specific risks might be too expensive. When you pay into your insurance plan through a CIC any funds that do not get utilized stay in your control.
Learn More About Captive Insurance Companies in our next blog.
Call us today and schedule a complimentary preliminary consultation to have an experienced Asset Protection Attorney review your assets and help you get protected. Our attorneys will answer your questions based on your specific professional and financial situation.
The Presser Law Firm, P.A.
6199 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL 33487
(561) 953-1050 or e-mail Info@AssetProtectionAttorneys.com