Physicians could amass significant assets throughout their careers, so estate planning might be crucial to address matters upon passing away or becoming incapacitated. Even physicians with limited assets could find value in estate planning. Directives listed in a will or health care proxy could assist heirs in Massachusetts when something unforeseen or tragic occurs.

Physicians and others may wish to consider ways to avoid probate, though. If possible and desirable, someone could list beneficiaries to specific accounts. Checking and brokerage accounts represent examples of where beneficiary designations may be possible. Joint ownership is another option, which can be done with real estate, financial accounts and more.

Writing a will with the assistance of an attorney might also seem prudent. The will could detail the allocation of assets along with directions about what happens to a private practice or another business the doctor might own. The planning process might entail carefully choosing the executor of the estate. The executor would perform many responsibilities during the probate process.

A physician may consider awarding someone power of attorney to handle financial and business duties while he or she is still alive. Handing over power of attorney might require deliberate thought since the person would have legal authorities to act on the physician’s behalf on several matters.

Even doctors have to think about what might happen if they suffer from an incapacitating illness, accident or severe medical emergency. Who would make decisions regarding risky surgeries or life support? A living will reflects the predetermined choices of the person who became incapacitated. That’s one option available. Another would be a health care proxy, which hands over medical decisions to someone else.

Working with an attorney to create an estate plan might help a physician or another professional make necessary decisions. The attorney may help write necessary documents after discussing things with a client.