Dentists, like other medical professionals, are always at risk of facing malpractice litigation. Working with an attorney can help you engage in dental asset protection. If a court rules against you, you could be required to pay out a significant settlement or damages. Without an effective strategy for protecting your assets, your personal assets are vulnerable to seizure by creditors.
The best time to prevent the loss of your hard-earned assets is now. The dental attorneys at Mahan Law have an in-depth understanding of relevant asset protection and estate planning laws. We use our experience and knowledge to develop comprehensive asset protection strategies tailored to our client’s needs and goals.
Assisting Dentists with Asset Protection
Mahan Law can help you arrange your finances and assets to reduce exposure to possible creditors. Our attorneys can use several different legal tactics to protect your assets. Some of the asset protection tools our attorneys regularly use include the following:
- Determining malpractice insurance needs
- Establishing trusts
- Assisting with retirement and business succession plans
- Developing an estate plan
- Transmuting assets
- Creating a corporate business entity to hold property
Forming a Business Entity for Your Dental Practice
Choosing the right business structure for your dental practice is crucial. The difference between operating as a sole proprietorship and a professional corporation, partnership, or LLC can significantly impact your ability to protect your assets. Without the protection of a business structure, your personal assets may be at risk. For example, it’s more difficult for patients and other third parties to successfully obtain a judgment against your personal assets if you’ve formed an LLC or professional corporation.
You will not receive personal liability protection if you operate as a sole proprietorship. Your assets as the dentist owner could be seized to satisfy your dental practice’s liabilities, debts, obligations, or legal judgments. The dental attorneys at Mahan Law will discuss your options with you so you can select a business structure that meets your needs and protects your personal assets. We will help you complete all of the documents and forms you’ll need to form an LLC or corporation so you can focus on managing your dental practice.
Protecting Your Assets Through a Trust
Trusts are fiduciary relationships through which a settlor places his or her assets in the control of a trustee. The trustee manages the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts, some of which provide significant asset protection. Although living trusts don’t provide asset protection, an irrevocable trust can provide more significant protection from creditors.
Dentists may benefit from using a qualified personal residence trust to transfer ownership of their personal residence out of their estate and into an irrevocable trust. The property will be assigned a lower value for the purpose of gift taxes. The homeowner can live in the home for a predetermined number of years. The rest of the interests in the home will be reserved for the homeowner’s designated beneficiary.
Mitigating Common Risks of Practicing Dentistry
Many risks associated with operating a dental practice can be mitigated by using best practices. Mahan Law can work with you to audit the practices of your dental practice to help you prevent medical malpractice lawsuits. The following allegations prompt the most malpractice claims involving dentists:
- Failing to treat a condition properly
- Improperly performing a dental procedure
- Failure to take adequate precautions to prevent patient injury
- Treating the wrong tooth or teeth
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Failure to prescribe a needed treatment
- Failure to diagnose a condition correctly
- Failure to warn patients of the risks involved with a dental procedure
Dentists can mitigate the risk of legal malpractice by ensuring they have systems in place to protect clients. Carefully documenting patient care, learning more about each patient’s history, hiring adequate dentists and support staff, and maintaining organized patient files can help dentists avoid malpractice liability.
Separating Dental Practices and Property
Our attorneys can also help you separate dentists within a single dental practice from each other legally. When dentists work for separate legal entities, they can protect each other from exposure to medical malpractice lawsuits. We can also help you separate property owned by your dental practice from your dental practice.
Suppose you set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) and transfer ownership of your office building to the LLC. If you lease your office from your LLC, you could lose your building and the property within it to creditors. Finally, we can help you separate your dental practice finances from your personal finances by creating the appropriate legal structure for your business. We can also help you separate your corporate dental practice finances from your family finances to protect your assets.
Creating a Retirement Plan As a Dentist to Protect Your Future
Finding time to focus on your retirement goals as a business owner can be difficult. At Mahan Law, we work with dental practice owners to help them develop comprehensive retirement plans. We frequently collaborate with other professionals, including financial advisors, to help you determine the amount of assets you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle during retirement. After we know how much you’ll need to save, we can discuss a realistic retirement time frame.
Dentists invest a significant amount of time in training and obtaining that treatment. The attorneys at Mahan Law understand the unique considerations involved in retirement planning for dentists. Many of our attorneys are dentists. We will work with you to mitigate risks you may face in retirement by helping you obtain disability income, property and casualty, and life insurance. We can also work with you to create an incapacity plan to help you avoid spending your retirement paying for long-term health care.
Contact a Dental Asset Protection Attorney
At Mahan Law, our dental practice attorneys are prepared to help you develop a dental asset protection plan. We can help you protect your assets before legal claims against you and your dental practice arise. Don’t hesitate to contact Mahan Law to learn more about how we can protect your assets.