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Do You Have All Your Estate Planning Needs Covered?

A comprehensive estate plan provides an inventory of your savings, investments, personal and practice related property and other valuable possessions.


No matter what stage of your dental career you’re in, it’s important to be organized and prepared for the future when it comes to managing and protecting your assets. A comprehensive estate plan provides an inventory of your savings, investments, personal and practice related property and other valuable possessions. It also documents your wishes for the distribution of assets to your heirs and benefactors.

Key considerations for a well-managed estate plan can help preserve your assets, minimize potential tax liability and reduce your exposure to risks that could deplete your savings such as a loss of income if you become disabled from dentistry.

Life and disability insurance are cost-effective risk management solutions for helping guard your financial security.


Immediate funds in the event of your death
Estate planning is complex, and probate laws vary by state. This can make it expensive and time-consuming for your surviving loved ones to access your assets. At the same time, your spouse and/or dependent children or whomever you have designated to manage your estate, will likely need to attend to funeral arrangements, financial and legal matters, property issues, taxes, etc., and the related expenses could be significant. Life insurance proceeds are typically available quickly. These proceeds can be distributed income-tax free depending on state law and the amount of the proceeds and can help provide your beneficiaries with a financial source to help cover expenses.

Financial security and peace of mind
Life insurance can also help provide your loved ones with the financial security they need to maintain their standards of living. Often times, families grieving the loss of a member have the added burden of trying to deal with unexpected financial issues that can’t always be met without personal sacrifice such as depleting retirement savings, selling property or finding alternate arrangements to fund college expenses. Proceeds from a life insurance policy can help substitute for your income or be invested in an effort to bolster your beneficiaries’ long-term financial health.

Shelter assets from estate taxes
Depending on state law, if the value of your estate, including life insurance proceeds, exceeds $5,450,000, it could be subject to federal estate taxes. One potential way to avoid federal estate death taxes, avoid probate costs and protect insurance proceeds from creditors is to establish an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) as the owner and beneficiary of your life insurance policy. The ILIT can then distribute the life insurance proceeds per your instructions to your named beneficiaries without being subject to any estate tax.


Protect your monthly income
An illness or accident that impacts your ability to practice dentistry can result in significant financial consequences. Disability insurance can help preserve the wealth you’ve built by replacing up to two-thirds of your net income if you experience a disabling injury or illness. Using disability insurance benefits to manage your monthly bills helps guard your personal savings while you are without a salary. Some policies also provide retirement savings benefits, so you can continue your retirement plan contributions while out on disability.

Consider your dental practice costs
If you own a dental practice, office overhead expense coverage can offer an additional layer of protection for your estate. It’s a type of disability insurance designed to reimburse you for office overhead costs incurred to maintain your practice during a period of disability. Monthly benefit payments help cover eligible dental practice costs, including your mortgage or lease, utilities, employee salaries, a replacement dentist and more. In short, it allows your practice to stay up and running for up to 12 to 24 months while you recuperate from an illness or injury — or if necessary, sell your practice.


Effective risk management should be a part of any sound financial plan to protect the value of your estate. Life and disability insurance are affordable ways to minimize risk and protect you and your family’s financial future. Review your estate plan and insurance coverage annually to ensure your financial goals are being met, your beneficiary designations are current and policy limits are adequate to meet your needs.

Protective Life, issuer of the ADA Members Insurance Plans, is committed to helping you make informed financial decisions. This series on estate planning includes: