Estate Planning Tips for High Wage Earners


There’s no doubt about it – you’re a hardworking and dedicated professional who has put immense time and effort into honing your craft. Whether you’re a physician, engineer, entrepreneur or other high-earning professional, you had to work hard to get where you are. And, with each passing year, you become more and more financially secure.

This is excellent news and a time to celebrate! Your hard work has paid off immensely. You’ve built a legacy to be proud of and to protect; the best way to do so is with setting up a will, trust, or other legal documents to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Many high wage earners think estate planning does not apply to them—that they must have Bill Gates’ money to set up a trust. WRONG. Not only does estate planning protect your loved ones, it also protects assets, protects you from liability, provides tax breaks, and helps you properly structure your professional lifestyle.

It is important to take time to develop a realistic estate plan for yourself and your family members. This includes choosing beneficiaries, picking out guardians for your minor kiddos, and preparing for probate with an effective will or avoiding it with a trust.

Additionally, here are some other things that you need to do as well:

1. Ensure that you have enough liability or malpractice insurance.

For example, physicians experience more liability than average individuals. As such, they are privy to many real and bogus lawsuits. Therefore, it is vital that you have enough liability coverage to handle these types of cases. If you don’t have enough protection, creditors can go after your assets, including those held in a company structure.

2.Figure out whom you’d like to designate as your child’s guardian.

Will your parents or a close relative raise your kids or manage your estate if you and your spouse cannot? Whatever you decide, the chosen party should be open and receptive to the appointment and be financially and emotionally stable to do so.

3. List your assets and liabilities in the form of a net worth statement, so you have a better idea of the value of your estate.

This should include bank accounts, investments, property, business interests, life insurance policies, student loan, credit card debt, etc.

4.Make sure you have a basic estate plan in place.

This includes a last will and testament, powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, and an advance directive.

5.Consider setting up a revocable living trust to protect your assets.

A living trust works during your lifetime and you can be appointed as the initial trustees. In addition to avoiding probate when you die, a fully-funded trust can also help if you become incapacitated because another trustee can take over the management of your finances.

Being a high wage earner is something to be proud of. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you deserve everything that you’ve accumulated. However, it is crucial that your estate plan protects your assets. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC, we can help you structure your estate plan to minimize taxes and protect your assets.