Core Universal Concepts about Wealth Preservation and Asset Protection for Doctors

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 By Ike Devji JD PC

Understanding these Four Core Concepts 

Think of asset protection they way you teach patients about wellness.

It’s a system and lifestyle that requires some discipline and good habits in four core areas:

  1. A culture of good habits, procedures, accountability and compliance

Avoiding or eliminating higher risk behavior often starts with having good, professionally drafted, legally compliant policies and procedures on a variety of risk management issues and consistently implementing and enforcing them uniformly. There is no more dangerous and ineffective manager than one who is conflict averse or who wants to be everyone’s friend. Leadership requires that you help everyone be and do their best by managing them actively and creating expectations and boundaries.

  1. Proactively managing all your predictable risks, not just those related to medical malpractice

We won’t dwell on this issue beyond noting that medical malpractice lawsuits are still a real threat and no matter what various experts tell you about statistics, how many actually go trial, or future reductions due to the PP-ACA, etc.; we all have seen the devastating first hand effects of these claims. And, no matter how remote a risk may be;: what if it is you? Are you emotionally, legally and financially prepared[i] for a adverse claim or judgment that could potentially stop your income, cost you your hospital privileges or practice, trigger a payer audit and/or take seven figures off your life’s work and net worth? Most physicians are not.

That said, malpractice liability is not the only, or even the most predictable and recurring exposure you face. You are a physician, but you are also potentially an executive, a parent, a business owner, a compliance officer, a breadwinner, the driver of vehicle, the owner of a home; and wear a variety of other hats you may not even think about. Having experienced help in properly identifying as many of these other, non profession liability risks as possible, and addressing them proactively both personally and professionally is a key part of any defensive strategy.

  1. Insurance, all the right kinds and in the right amounts

Insurance needs to be thought of as an “insurance program”, not a line item, and works as a system of overlapping coverage. Most physicians have an overly simplified vision of what they should have in place, mainly some form of professional liability insurance typically a “1-3” policy meaning $1-MM per occurrence policy with a $3-MM aggregate. Many attorneys advise physicians to buy, “Every dollar you can afford, then have a back-up plan.” This goes far beyond your professional liability or malpractice insurance and includes half a dozen or more varieties of specialty insurance that can be well covered with the help of a top-notch property and casualty (P&C) insurance agent. A word of caution, having an asset protection plan consisting of putting defensive legal tools in place without the complimentary insurance, commonly known as “going bare”, is never the best idea and if nothing else, subjects you to the exposure of massive legal fees for defense costs which are easily six figures.

  1. Defensive legal structures

There will inevitably be gaps in the number of things that can be covered or the dollar limit to which you can insure yourself. Do not ever rely on your “umbrella” policy alone as effective universal coverage. This is where all the trusts, LLCs, partnerships, corporate structures and estate-planning techniques attorneys are fond of and come into play. You must have good policies and procedures with insurance against instances in case those fail, and have a backup plan if the first two layers fail.

Remember that asset protection is fact specific and use your facts. Every doctor seeking asset protection must have a thorough review of his/her own assets, have his/her personal and professional risks identified and have tools and solutions implemented by a qualified and experienced professional.

In other words, the familiar pattern of examination, diagnosis and then personalized treatment. There may be a reasonable and proven course of treatment for any particular problem, but your advisors should always know what the problems are before they start proposing specific solutions.

[i]  The Physician’s (and Business Owner’s) Asset Protection Self Exam:





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  Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™ Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

[Dr. Cappiello PhD MBA] *** [Foreword Dr. Krieger MD MBA]


One Response

  1. Asset Protection for Physicians

    This is all very well written. I think if all physicians took this article to heart and considering their processes they would definitely be better off for doing so. We all know that is not the case!

    Unfortunately I’ve seen where asset protection and insurance is a one and done transaction. Meaning they get it set up initially and it just sort of drips into the background and gets lost in the day-to-day activity of running their practice. Which is very understandable in that most physicians and medical professionals are very busy and have bigger fish to fry per se.

    Insurance and asset protection strategies should be part of anyone’s annual review of their business and/or personal assets. Laws are constantly changing, strategies are changing, new products are being brought to market and having someone in your corner keeping their eye on those types of things can be invaluable.



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