We've covered a variety of issues related to wealth, business, risk management, and asset protection for doctors over the last 100-plus articles we've shared here. A common issue that physicians identify as preventing them from effectively facing the multitude of details that must be managed is simply not knowing where to start. Below we take a few of the key issues we've previously discussed in greater detail and plan a suggested calendar outline to help make the process more manageable. Although these issues are outlined in a logical way, your specific circumstances may require some reordering.
Start the year with a personal credit check (and ideally a business one too) as we suggested in our previous article on holiday scams targeting doctors. The end of the year is a time when identity theft and other related financial crimes spike.
The start of a new year is also a logical and important time to review or upgrade your employment manual and policies. Think about what didn't work last year and get help in making required changes.
We've previously discussed the importance of a business plan for doctors, review yours or get one put together and address any time-sensitive issues with putting it into meaningful action.
January 31 is the deadline for employers to mail out W-2 forms to employees and for businesses to furnish Form 1099 statements reporting, among other things, non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends, and distributions from a retirement plan.
Book appointments with your CPA and financial adviser, even if just a brief call, and get a list of all required issues and documents you'll need to provide and ask for ideas on any last minute contributions you may still be able to make. Delegate what you can and reduce your stress in April by assembling the file by the end of the month.
Examine both your personal and professional insurance coverage including the various types of specialty liability insurance we have covered and get a personal liability umbrella policy of at least $1 million in place. The best asset protection is always done by managing risk and following best practices, not by managing crisis.
Complete any tasks still open from the previous months and plan an HR review for the end of the first quarter to address any issues in accordance with the policy outlined in your 2014 employment policies.
Check with the party responsible for employee credentialing and make sure they have done a review of your staff and have provided you with a time frame and outline of any action to be taken.
Check with your CPA and make that your file is complete and that you've made any contributions to tax deferred/retirement plans as advised. Pay your taxes.
If your practice uses drug-based treatments, do a compliance and safety review of your vendors and verification procedures.
May 15 is the deadline for nonprofit organizations to file information returns for the year 2013 or to request an extension. If you serve on the board of such an organization or more than one whether educational, religious, healthcare-related or some other business, make sure your "directors and officer's" or "D&O" insurance coverage is in place as we've previously advised.
Getting ready for a summer trip? Make sure your family and staff have a good idea of best practices for maintaining your personal safety as we've previously discussed both while traveling and in terms of limiting information you and they may innocently share about how long you'll be gone, paying special attention to social media where you kids or spouse may be broadcasting the details of when your house will be empty for two weeks.
Review any substantial purchases you've made, additional savings, distributions of income, or profit from your practice or another source, and any significant new assets. Check to see that they've been put in the appropriate entity or legal structure, in your own name, or in the name of your family trust or revocable living trust is rarely the right place for exposed assets of significant value and is a common fatal flaw of physicians asset protection planning.
As explained, this list is general intentionally as widely applicable as possible, and is intended to provide a framework for you to tailor to your own practice and family reality. Our next installment will continue the calendar through December 2014.