A physician could spend a great deal of his or her life building up a practice. Throughout the years of providing services in Florida, a physician might amass considerable wealth and assets. Therefore, proper estate planning is advisable. Thorough planning could address several critical matters both before and after someone passes away.

When someone dies without a will, asset distribution falls under stipulations outlined in the state’s intestate law. Leaving determinations about their assets to a prearranged statute might be far from what a physician may prefer. Writing a will with the assistance of an attorney may help ensure that assets go to the intended heirs. The physician crafting the will could also make sure that the most desirable candidate for executor duties gets selected.

Private practices operate like many other small businesses. What happens to the practice when the physician passes away? Will someone take it over, or is it to be shut down? Succession planning may provide answers. Succession planning also addresses matters related to retirement or incapacitation, which may bring with it many other concerns.

Medical issues, accidents and other problems may lead to mental or physical incapacitation. Designating power of attorney before becoming incapacitated could provide someone with the ability to take financial actions. A physician might grant a trusted family member power of attorney even when in good health. This way, the physician can focus on things outside of business-related matters.

Power of attorney, however, does not extend to health care decisions. A health care proxy document would turn medical decisions over to another person. Also, the physician has the option to draw up a living will. The contract would detail the physician’s decisions and directives regarding care. The individual might prefer a “do not resuscitate” order over life support, for example.

Estate planning covers a great deal of legal territory. Physicians might wish to start the process before an unfortunate incident occurs. An estate law attorney may prove helpful when making estate planning decisions.