At Lake Norman Law Firm, we operate an extensive estate planning practice. We’ve probably advised and effected more estate plans for dentists than any other class of professionals. It comes with the territory! Of course, throughout a dentist’s career, he or she earns income, saves for retirement, buys life insurance, and accrues other valuable assets (including the dental practice itself). In turn, it proves important that dentists have proper estate planning devices in place, such as Wills and Trusts, so that their estate efficiently passes to their family in the event of death.
We offer below-standard pricing to our dentists on Will packages and Living Trust Packages (and other trusts instruments) for them and their family members. Packages include: Power of Attorney; Health Care Proxy; Advanced (end of life) Directives; Last Will and Testament; and Trusts (when applicable).
There is no one-size-fits-all package when it comes to estate planning. However, we routinely find that our dentist clients fit into one of roughly three options. Utilizing a lawyer that understands the dentist and his or her practice provides value and a comfortable level of familiarity with all of the relative issues when determining an estate plan.
No matter the dentist’s individual or family planning needs – one thing is constant – obtaining fair value for the practice itself is extremely important. Thus, employing an attorney experienced with dentist practice valuations and transitions is crucial. Obviously, there is a limited marketplace for a dental practice, and unique industry value markers. Likewise, valuation of dental practices can widely vary depending on the appraiser. I have personally witnessed two extremely reputable business appraisers (at reputable accounting firms) arrive at very different conclusions when attempting to value the same orthodontics practice. To illustrate, one appraisal came in at +/- $450,000; while the other came in at +/- $1,200,000. How is that possible? Well, only an attorney experienced with dental practice valuation would be able recognize that it is possible – and counsel the family or dentist as the case may be – deciphering which appraisal is flawed, and truly promoting the client’s interests.
It’s not hard to recognize the significance in having this legal experience on your family’s side. If one of our dentist clients should pass away, he or she should feel confident that the family is represented by legal counsel who can ensure that the family obtains fair value for the practice, right? This same concept holds true during the estate planning process – as we talk with our dentists about buy-sell agreements with their partners, associates, or colleagues. Implementing a plan for the sale of the dentist’s practice at fair value is an immeasurable benefit, and obviously provides a degree of comfort to the dentist that his or her spouse and children will be adequately provided for without stress and unreasonable delay if he or she were to pass away too soon.
We find that our dentists often refer our services to their employees and other family members for estate planning needs, and we’re happy to help – offering the same internal discounts and honest advice when a dentist client refers them.