June is graduation season for new doctors in Arizona. While graduating from medical or dental school is an enormous achievement, it may also be a time of uncertainty as you transition from the academic setting into your new career in the professional world. The following are some legal and practical tips that might help you as you embark on your career.
In an ideal world, partners in a medical or dental practice would work until they are ready to retire, then sell their interest in the practice to their other partners or to a new doctor in a seamless transition. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. Although it can be a difficult topic to discuss, one of the most important issues to consider when forming a practice is to plan what to do if you or one of your partners suddenly dies or becomes unable to continue practicing.
If you do not plan ahead, and one of your partners unexpectedly becomes unable to practice, you could face considerable disruption and uncertainty in your practice. Even more important, you or your family could lose your investment in the practice if you die or become disabled. Although the havoc caused by a sudden death or disability cannot be entirely avoided, it can be minimized by careful planning and drafting of the practice’s formation documents.
Most doctors are familiar with individual disability insurance policies, in which you insure against your own disability. Many doctors are also familiar with business overhead disability insurance, which will replace your practice’s revenue in the event that you are unable to continue working. However, there is a third category of disability policy that doctors, particularly doctors in smaller practice groups, may want to consider to protect themselves in the event of disability: disability buyout policies.