Monthly Archives: March 2015

Dentists: Here’s Why Having a Will Is so Important

Despite knowing the importance of creating one, over half of all Americans do not have a valid Last Will and Testament in place. Often, the reason given for not executing at least a basic Will is the belief that one is not necessary. Consider the following five reasons why executing a Will is important, especially if you’re a dentist.

1. A Will allows you to control who inherits from your estate. When a decedent dies intestate, or without a valid Will in place, the state intestate succession laws govern what happens to the decedent’s estate assets. Intestate succession laws vary somewhat from one state to the next; however, they all share a common theme in that only a spouse and/or close relatives inherit from a decedent’s estate. Typically, a spouse and children inherit first, followed by parents and siblings. Close friends, distant relatives such as a favorite niece, and charities that are close to your heart will receive nothing from your estate.

2. A Will allows you to decide how much people inherit from your estate. State intestate succession laws also dictate what percentage of your estate each heir inherits. Assets intended for children from a previous marriage, for example, might be given to a current spouse. The only way to control how much of your estate is given to each beneficiary is to create a Will.

3. A Will allows you to determine what assets people inherit from your estate. Specific gifts can only be made in a Will. Intestate succession laws will not acknowledge, much less honor, promises made by you to gift specific items, such as family heirlooms or sentimental personal items, to anyone.

4. A Will prevents the sale of estate assets. Often, estate assets must be sold to create the funds necessary to divide the estate according to state intestate succession laws. Your home, family heirlooms, and other assets may be forever lost unless you execute a Will.

5. A Will is your only opportunity to nominate a guardian for minor children. If you have minor children the only opportunity you have to tell a judge who you would choose to be their guardian should one be needed is in your Last Will and Testament.

For more information about drafting a Will, please contact us!

Insurance for Data Breach – What Is It?

There are many challenges small companies, including dental practices, face in today’s highly competitive world of business. As such, many businesses have taken actions to streamline operations, and have made the move to paperless offices and cloud computing in order to get an edge over competitors. Unfortunately, this has left them vulnerable to a risk of a different nature – a data breach.

Hackers are evolving at a more advanced pace than the software to stop them in their tracks is. They want information of any kind about your practice, your employees, and the clients and customers who have trusted you with their personal, financial and medical information.

Why Do You Need Data Breach Insurance?
For most of today’s small businesses it’s not a matter of IF a data breach will occur, but WHEN will it happen. That’s why you need to invest in adequate data breach insurance coverage for your dental practice.

In addition to the public relations nightmare data breaches bring to businesses, there are costs that can be quite significant. These include costs of legal defense, credit monitoring services, court fees and even the expenses of notifying your patients that their information may have been compromised in the attack.

These costs can be particularly detrimental to your business if you’re paying for these costs completely out of pocket, without the help of insurance.

What Does Data Breach Insurance Cover?
The nature of data breaches is brutal for small dental practices that are ill-equipped to defend against brute force attacks despite their best efforts. Data breach insurance helps small dental practices in these events by covering the costs of:

  • Litigation defense
  • Forensic investigations
  • Crisis management and public relations
  • Notification expenses
  • Liability expenses

It’s important for you to be proactive in your efforts to avoid the scandal associated with data breach by establishing strict policies about passwords, device usage, social media, etc. and to purchase adequate data breach insurance as a backup plan for the time when data breaches do occur.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly!

Age Has Its Privileges: Income Tax Considerations for Seniors

By the time you turn 65, you’ve probably already started enjoying some benefits reserved for senior citizens. Restaurants, exclusive living communities, entertainment venues and many other businesses start offering discounts at 55.

You may have already retired from your position in the dental industry and/or started to draw Social Security. Your health care benefits will change significantly on your 65th birthday as you enroll in Medicare.

And what about income taxes? Yes, you still have to file and pay income taxes. Your income is still considered taxable unless it is exempt for some reason. At 65, you may still be receiving compensation for services or some other kind of business income, but the bulk of your money may be coming from sources like rents and royalties, interest and dividends, property sales, and estates and trusts.

Much of your tax preparation will be the same for the year you turn 65, but some things will be different. We’d be happy to go over these in detail at any time. The sooner the better, actually, if 2014 is the first year you’ll be filing as a senior. Then we can start making plans now for any adjustments that might fall in your favor.

Here are some of the areas in which your tax return may be a little different when you turn 65 and/or retire:


If you are 65 or older, you can take a higher standard deduction than you previously did.  Note: The IRS considers you 65 the day prior to your actual 65th birthday.

Retirement Plan Distributions

There are so many different kinds of distributions, and the filing requirements are all so different, that you should really sit down with us before you start receiving them. That way, you’ll be able to make at least some rough income and expense projections (if you haven’t already done so as a part of an overall retirement plan). The IRS has strict, complex rules here, and you’ll want to stay in compliance to avoid any penalties.

Estimated Taxes

Whether or not you paid estimated taxes when you were working in your dental practice, it’s possible you’ll be required to pay them in retirement. Providers generally withhold taxes on pensions and annuities, but if you end up owing money when you file, you may be required to pay estimated taxes (unless you can adjust your withholding to cover the shortfall).

Social Security

It’ll be nice to have another steady, reliable income stream, but your Social Security benefits will be taxed. If you opt to not have taxes withheld from your Social Security payments, you’ll either have to compensate for them elsewhere or pay estimated taxes.


Medicare benefits are not considered income.

Start Now

Gone are the days when a large portion of the population worked for the same company for decades and retired with a nice employer-subsidized pension. 401(k)s, which are portable and only partially employer-subsidized, are replacing that model.

According to one source, one out of four individuals younger than 65 is not saving money for retirement at all. If you fall into this group, or if you’re in the even larger group that is saving but unsure they’ll have enough to retire, you owe it to yourself and any heirs you may have to start now, no matter how minimal your contributions.

We’d be happy to look at your current financial situation and hear about your retirement goals and dreams.  Together, we can start piecing together a plan that will give you more confidence in your ability to retire young enough to enjoy your senior years.