A doctor’s property can be vulnerable should he or she be sued and found liable for medical malpractice. Unfortunately, some cases they can lose their homes. However, here are several ways doctors can protect their property.
The first way a doctor can protect his or her property is by placing into a trust that would allow them to use the home while still protecting it from creditors. An estate planning attorney would be able to help structure such a trust. However there can be some negatives associated with placing a home in trust. Such restrictions could include limitations on the ability to refinance the property and control of it in the future.
If the doctor is trying to simply limit the amount of real estate they own they may want to consider taking out a larger mortgage on the home. This would lower the interest rates and the doctor would pay about the same mortgage payment every month; however the amount of the loan would be higher. The result would be that if the home was lost during litigation, the doctor would lose less equity in the home than what they previously had in the home prior to taking out the larger mortgage. The extra money the doctor received from the larger mortgage can then be invested into their retirement.
Another option may be increasing medical malpractice protection. While this may be expensive it could give a doctor peace of mind from losing their property due to litigation.
Marriage also provides property with a certain amount of protection from creditors. If the doctor and their spouse hold the property as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety then that means that each spouse owns the entire property and not just equal shares of the property. However in some states these protections apply only when the property is their primary residence together. Should they get divorced, one spouse dies, or if they stop using the property as their primary residence, then the property becomes vulnerable to creditors.
Each of these options provides a doctor with greater protection of their property from litigation. Doctors can explore these options to determine what is best for them.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.