Physicians Should Consider Asset Protection Planning with a Georgia Estate Planning Attorney
As medical malpractice claims continue to rise in the US, more physicians than ever are turning to asset protection strategies to help them avoid financial catastrophe in the face of a malpractice lawsuit.
While nearly every physician is at risk for a lawsuit, there are some doctors who experience legal claims more than most. 3 of the most at-risk medical professions for lawsuits include obstetrics, neurosurgery, and radiology.
The reasons for the high percentage of medical claims in these fields are varied and complicated, but it often boils down to the rate of risk associated with these areas, rather than with lack of skill or professionalism on the part of the physician. Of course, there is case of frivolous lawsuits as well.
Whether a lawsuit against a physician is well-founded or not, it can still cost an incredible amount of time, effort, and money. While it may help to reevaluate laws regarding malpractice litigation, there are more immediate things that doctors can do to protect themselves, and their personal assets, if a lawsuit is filed.
Traditionally, physicians have attempted to protect their assets by setting up living trusts and even placing their property in another person's name. Now, however, physicians may find the asset protection vehicle they are looking for in a Family Limited Partnership.
Originally created in the early 20th century, the Family Limited Partnership was intended to protect family assets and even to provide tax benefits. It has since evolved into a useful tool for use by physicians who may face lawsuits.
A qualified attorney who is well-versed in the Family Limited Partnership and how it applies here in Atlanta will assist and advise the medical professional on how to set up a structure similar to a family business. Other individuals in the family can be included as general partners. Once property is properly placed into this type of partnership, it generally will not be eligible for use to pay off a lawsuit.
It is necessary that the Family Limited Partnership be meticulously planned and worded, which is why it is especially important to work with an attorney who fully understands how to craft the partnership as it pertains to a physician's family and unique risks. Choosing an attorney who understands this approach to asset protection and how it affects physicians in Atlanta provides new options that many doctors have not been afforded before.