A Physician’s Will: The Minimalist Guide to Inheritance Management for Doctors

Doctors often do not have time for the added legalities and paperwork that comes with creating a will. When it comes sorting out assets and properties, their busy schedules keep them from taking counsel from lawyers and attorneys. As a result, it is not that surprising that most physicians‘ families turn up short on life insurance payouts and estate planning. Sometimes, they even lack appropriately written wills that leave their families in utter confusion. All of that does nothing to secure the futures of their children in the event of their premature death.

The only way out is a smarter plan that takes care of all the inheritance, the heirs, and beneficiaries. They need a plan that does not take too long to chalk out and implement. It is true that estate planning can seem morbid and rather time consuming, but they are going to be the life support for the rest of the family in the event of the physician’s death.

Why should you at least make a will?

Almost all states have interstate laws. These determine the future of your property if you die without a will. Now, these laws are different for each state, and they leave important decisions to the court system. In ideal cases, your spouse or other heirs should appoint a competent and experienced attorney to content the court. However, let’s face it – it is going to be a rather trying time for your family, and bad decisions will be made! Instead of leaving things up to probability and likelihood, why don’t you start compiling your own will?

Drafting a will does not take much time or effort. You can seek the help of your family attorney, or you can make one yourself. While DIY wills do hold up in court, it is always better to have a legal expert to oversee the process. Your will should include clear instructions about how you want your property to be distributed after your death.

What kind of will is better for you?


Oral will

A written will is always better than verbal or nuncupative will. The former holds up better in court. An oral will, recited by the testator in front of an audience (witnesses), is considered valid by the court if and only if:

  • It is an accepted practice under state law.
  • The testator announces it during his/her final illness.
  • The witnesses convert it into writing promptly.
  • The witnesses file it with the probate court.

Holographic will

When the testator writes the will in his own handwriting in the absence of attesting witnesses, it becomes a holographic will. It may be valid in some states, but it is never the best idea. In some instances of debilitating illness, the handwriting may be illegible, and the message can be ambiguous. The testator can fail to convey his or her intentions coherently through the holographic will.

Testamentary will

A written will is a legal document that can convey your wishes about the distribution of your property in the event of your demise. It is a formal affair that involves the attestation by witnesses and guidance from an attorney.

When should you get a will?

Ideally, when a physician‘s net worth is $2 million or lesser (which happens in case of most young doctors), you can easily swing with a simple testamentary or self-proving will. It will not only help in the distribution of your assets, but it will also help in spelling out who will take charge of your children, who will be your immediate heirs and who will take care of your assets.

Legal will vs. Estate plan

An estate plan consists of more than just your testamentary will. Estate planning for doctors gives you the power to choose your immediate heirs, distribute belongings specifically to your dear ones, equally divide your estate (in value) among all your children, and create trusts that can look after your family once you are gone. Wills are more straightforward to create, and undoubtedly easier to amend. As long as you have a competent attorney to help you, you can always include your current last will in your estate plan later on.

In fact, a sound estate plan can also include an advanced directive, power of attorney, trusts for your favorite charity, and funds for your loving pet(s). An estate plan is never complete without the last will or testament. There cannot be a contest between a living will and an estate plan. You can always include a Trust instead of a will, but if the net worth of your assets is $2 million or less, you might as well draft a legally sound testament or will. Trusts are indeed costlier and take more work to maintain.

A trust can help your legal heirs to skip probate. This process includes a legal examination of your assets, which can keep the property away from their rightful heirs for months at a time. It can be helpful in saving time and much emotional hassle during the property distribution process.

What should the will contain?

You may choose to create a will and a trust at the same time. However, most young doctors just start with a will. Three components make a legal will whole:

  • Guardianship

Your will allows you to name a guardian for your minor child/children. In case you do not draft a will, your child can just go to the next surviving kin or your spouse. That is not the outcome we always want. Always define your minor child’s guardianship in your will.

  • Real property

It is usually home, buildings and all kinds of real estate. Distribution of “real property” can be confounding and emotional. Therefore, it is imperative that you talk to an attorney before drafting your will.

  • Assets

These are the other “stuff” you may want to bequeath to your surviving family. Thus, it is essential to note down the details of the assets you want to pass down to your family members. If you want your grandson to have one of your cars, mention the make, model, and VIN in your will. Wills help you distribute money, heirlooms, and bank accounts. So draft your testament with the help of a professional.


A legal will can save the extra hassle of court hearings, hiring attorneys, and repetitive legal counsel, and it surely averts many family disputes. It is essential for every physician to take some time out of their busy lives and secure the future of their family and next generation(s). Visit https://beamalife.com/to know more!

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