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At the 2017 Yankee Dental Congress, Randy Fine, LUTCF, cautioned dentists that as high-income individuals, they will be targets for lawsuits. Fine suggested taking a proactive approach by establishing a baseline level of asset protection before your assets are acquired.
As someone who is expected to have a relatively high income, you will be a target for lawsuits, Fine said. That’s why he suggested establishing a foundation of asset protection before you acquire those assets.
Fine said that dentists should have insurance policies across the spectrum whether or not they run their own practices.
The recommended policies include:
· Property insurance
· Vehicle insurance
· Homeowner’s insurance
· Auto insurance
· Life insurance
Disability insurance is also very important, and not just that you get it, but that you tailor the terms to cover your specialty, he said. According to Fine, 25 percent of individuals become disabled before their death. Disability doesn’t have to be physically visible. He defined a disability as an injury that would render you incapable of working.
For example, damage to fine motor skills could hinder future dental production and would affect your income. He gave the example of a client whose hand was injured to such a degree that it was no longer steady enough to perform procedures. This dentist was able to collect disability insurance and simultaneously teach dentistry because of how the terms were defined.
Extra liability insurance can protect your future, Fine said. He referred to this as an umbrella policy, which should cover your assets and total net worth so that you do not lose any properties or savings if you are sued, whether or not you’re at fault. He said that since the umbrella policy should figuratively stand above you and shield you from lawsuits, its coverage size should be larger than your assets. Therefore, as you continue to add to your savings and acquire more assets, your umbrella policy should be adjusted to reflect your increasing net worth.
To further protect yourself and your family, Fine suggested setting up wills and life insurance. Although you may not want to think about it, you don’t want your family to worry about paying off your loans when you die.
According to Fine, it is important to ensure that all of your investments and savings are protected, whether it be from taxes, inflation, disability, death, divorce, obsolescence, or market volatility.