This is when tragedy follows tragedy. A middle aged man was killed yesterday in a work accident. The problem, however, is that two sides of the family are fighting over custody of the 11 year old daughter. The mother had died earlier. The police have already been called in on this. Last year, the live-in girlfriend of one of the
Writing a will is just a grown up thing to do. Once you get married, you need one. Once you have children, you really, really, really need one. There is no predicting how family will react when the children of a loved one need a home and someone to raise them.
A will does a number of things, and as you move along in life your needs may change. First is appointing the guardian for any children. Your spouse is first, obviously, but if both parents die, then a provision needs to be made for who will care for the children
Copies of the will should be given to key people – the attorney, a trusted sibling or friend. A list of basic instructions, including the attorney’s name and contact, locations of assets (banks, safe deposit box, brokerages, etc) would help your survivors. If everyone is out of town, suggestions for an attorney and accountant would help, as your executor may need local help. Personally, I’ve told my brother this as well as a “go to” person who can help with good referrals.
On the business side, we’ve written earlier of the importance of a shareholder agreement. Part of the agreement addresses the buyout of a physician owner who leaves the practice for whatever reason – retirement, relocation, death, etc. Your advisors may suggest a “key man” life insurance policy, in this case a means of paying out the family quickly. The practice also needs to be able to finance the transition, which may include a locum tenum physician and the cost of recruiting. This is done as a matter of fairness to the survivors, as well as to your patients and to yourselves. It happens, and you are all very dependent on your fellow physicians for your livelihood.
Now that your tax returns are filed (or will be soon), you’ve likely spotted several areas where you could be doing better. While working on getting your records together for the coming year. Call you attorney and get started.