The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not having a tax-based estate plan

September 20, 2016
Dr. Roger P. Levin
Dr. Roger P. Levin

Dr. Roger P. Levin is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Dr. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and is a leading authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Dr. Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10 percent. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Time magazine and is the creator of the Levin Group Tip of the Day, which has over 30,000 subscribers. To contact Dr. Levin, visit or email

One of the biggest mistakes in the realm of personal financial management is not having an estate plan created by an expert in estate tax.

Based on his extensive experience with dentists over the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the book.

Related reading: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Ignoring staff conflict

Mistake #28: Not having a tax-cased estate plan

One of the biggest mistakes in the realm of personal financial management is not having an estate plan created by an expert in estate tax.

Federal, state and local governments will always need to fund government benefits and programs, creating debt that must be funded by levying fees and taxes. Taxes will go up, quickly or slowly, regardless of which party is in office… and estate taxes will be affected as well. Estate planning is a highly complex subject, and the proportion of assets that go to governments rather than to your heirs depends largely on the skill of your estate planner.

Working with an expert in this area offers several advantages. An estate planner can help you shelter assets from taxation and ensure that contracts you’ve established-with an associate, for example-will be viewed and treated by tax officials the way you intended. He or she can also help you express your wishes clearly in legal terms that will not be open to interpretation. And, most important, engaging an estate attorney will make it far less likely that you will pass away without leaving your last will and testament.

I have seen this happen, resulting in the dentist’s family members suing each other over ownership rights to the practice. In several of these cases, the practice actually had to be sold because a young family member who was a dentist wanted to continue running the practice but could not afford to “pay off” other family members’ financial interest in the business. Problems like these can be avoided by working with an estate planning expert… someone who can translate the desires of the dentist into an ironclad legal document.

Related reading: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Thinking embezzlement will never happen

Estate planning also makes you think about subjects you might not otherwise consider. A good estate planning attorney will raise questions that will help you make decisions as to the best disposition of your estate.

The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make has now been published and a digital download is available here for just $59.

Special Offer for DPM Readers. Save $50 on doctor tuition for Dr. Levin’s seminar “The Business of Dentistry… Simplified” in Las Vegas on September 29. Register with code DPM50 to receive your discount. For details and to register, click here.