As someone who holds the lives of others in your hands, you know all too well the importance of every decision you make. In a profession where one lawsuit can significantly impact your financial future, risk management for surgeons is not an option—it’s a necessity.
In this article, we’ve compiled insights and advice from our team of financial advisors who specialize in working with surgeons to provide a high-level overview of strategies for safeguarding your assets without compromising your career goals or personal aspirations.
We’ll provide insights into these topics*:
- Malpractice Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance
- Retirement accounts
- Asset protection trusts
- Whole Life Insurance
Malpractice Insurance for Surgeons
When you’re operating on a patient, even a minor error could lead to severe consequences and legal repercussions. Malpractice insurance offers critical financial protection, covering legal fees, settlement costs, and other expenses associated with a lawsuit.
There are different types of malpractice insurance policies you should be considering. For example, claims-made policies cover incidents reported during the policy period, while occurrence-based policies cover any incident that occurs while the policy is active, regardless of when the claim is filed.
Both have merits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial to consult an experienced malpractice insurance professional to determine the best alternatives for your practice.
Carrying umbrella insurance is another must-have for surgical professionals. Beyond the scope of your regular malpractice insurance, an umbrella policy offers an additional layer of liability coverage that kicks in when your primary policy’s limits are exhausted.
This is important because medical lawsuits can involve substantial settlements that may deplete your primary insurance and jeopardize your assets.
Many umbrella insurance options, including standalone policies and riders, can be added to your existing insurance packages.
Making an informed decision on the right type and amount of coverage can safeguard both your professional reputation and future financial stability.
Asset Protection Trusts
These trusts act as a financial safeguard by legally separating personal assets from those at risk in lawsuits or claims. You need a barrier that can be designed to reduce financial vulnerability so you can focus on what you do best: delivering high-quality medical care.
Common structures include irrevocable trusts and family limited partnerships, each with its unique advantages and conditions.
Irrevocable Trust for Surgeons
This legal arrangement allows you, as a surgeon, to transfer assets out of your estate, reducing potential estate tax liability. Once assets are placed in an irrevocable trust, they cannot be modified or revoked without the beneficiaries’ consent, providing a level of asset protection.
Additionally, it can be structured to ensure that your heirs receive the benefits according to your wishes, and it can be particularly useful in safeguarding assets from medical malpractice claims.
Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) for Surgeons
You should also consider utilizing a Family Limited Partnership (FLP) as part of your risk management strategy. An FLP is a legal entity that allows you to maintain control of family assets while gifting or selling limited partnership interests to family members.
This can serve two primary purposes:
- It can facilitate the smooth transfer of wealth to the next generation, aiding in estate planning.
- Assets held within the FLP may be shielded from potential litigation, including medical malpractice claims.
Retirement accounts serve as more than just a nest egg for the future; they can act as a critical risk management tool for surgeons.
Contributing to tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs can offer asset protection. These accounts are often shielded from legal judgments, providing an extra layer of financial security in an unpredictable environment.
Additionally, managing risk for retirement accounts dovetails perfectly with long-term financial planning. It’s a strategy that kills two birds with one stone: safeguarding assets while preparing for a more financially secure retirement.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is often underutilized but can be another important risk management consideration.
Not only does it offer a death benefit to your heirs, but it also provides a cash value component that grows tax-deferred. This cash value is generally protected from creditors and can serve as an additional financial reservoir in times of need.
By diversifying your risk management approach to include whole life insurance, you’re building a more resilient financial future without compromising your existing investment and savings plans.
Annuities can provide a financial foundation for surgeons who want to mitigate risk in their financial lives. Because you are a high-income earner, it’s crucial to convert that earning power into a reliable income stream for the future, particularly in an industry fraught with malpractice risks and unpredictable outcomes.
Annuities offer a structured way to receive steady income during retirement, creating a layer of financial security when other assets or income streams may be exposed to market downturns or legal complications.
- Annuities can provide a reliable and consistent income stream, ensuring financial stability throughout retirement.
- You can benefit from tax-deferred growth within annuities, allowing your investments to potentially grow faster than assets in taxable accounts.
- Annuities often come with creditor protection, shielding surgeons’ assets from potential lawsuits or financial liabilities.
- You can tailor annuities to your specific needs, whether for retirement income, funding future medical expenses, or achieving other financial goals.
- Annuities can offer a way to reduce market-related risks; some have benefits to safeguard a portion of your assets from the volatility of the financial markets.
Is Surgeon’s Capital Management Right For You?
As a financial firm deeply rooted in the surgical community, we make it our business to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of your profession.
Why? Staying attuned to your industry’s nuances allows us to refine the financial advisory advice and services we custom-tailor for you and your family.
Here at Surgeons Capital Management, our seasoned team of professionals boasts over two centuries of combined experience in private wealth management. We’ve dedicated our practice to exclusively serving surgeons, their families, and surgical clinics.
So, what sets Surgeons Capital Management apart from other financial firms?
- We don’t just understand complex financial plans; we understand surgeons. We’re dialed into the unique economics of your field and the financial challenges that come with your types of services.
- Your financial situation can dramatically shift throughout your career. From managing day-to-day cash flow and retirement savings to intricate tax and healthcare benefits planning, succession, and legacy strategies, we’ve got you covered.
- Your Legacy, Our Priority: Crafting a robust, multigenerational wealth and legacy plan is not just a service we offer; it’s our commitment to you. We want you to be confident that your family’s financial future is secure.
We get it — your profession demands a lot from you. That’s why we handle the daily financial concerns you’d rather not deal with. Consider us your financial concierge; we help you do the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on expanding your practice and enjoying quality time with those who matter to you the most.
Geographically, we’re as flexible as you are. Our financial advisors can meet you wherever you call home in the U.S. Planning a move? No worries — your financial blueprint moves with you.
Consider us perpetually “on call” for your financial well-being.
* Equitable Advisors, LLC, its affiliated companies, and financial professionals do not provide malpractice or liability insurance products and services, nor do they provide legal or tax advice services. You would need to contact a professional who offers malpractice and/or liability insurance and consult with your personal legal and/or tax professional(s) regarding your specific situation.
** Annuities are long-term financial products designed for retirement purposes. In addition, annuity policies have limitations and a charge for withdrawals in the policy’s early years. Variable annuities contain options that are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk, including the possibility of loss of principal. For costs and complete details, contact your Equitable Advisors financial professional. Variable annuities are sold by prospectus, which describes charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives. You should read the prospectus and consider this information carefully before you invest further or send money.
Duly-registered and duly-licensed financial professionals with Surgeons Capital Management offer securities through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN), offer investment advisory products and services through Equitable Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor, and offer annuity and insurance products through Equitable Network, LLC (Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC in CA; Equitable Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC in UT; Equitable Network of Puerto Rico, Inc., in PR). Equitable Advisors and Equitable Network are affiliates and do not provide tax or legal advice or services. Surgeons Capital Management is not a registered investment advisor and is not owned or operated by Equitable Advisors or Equitable Network.
PPG-6097448.1 (11/23) (Exp. 3/27)