Most of us avoid thinking about falling victim to a serious accident or illness. Should such a thing happen, we hope that we will be able to recover and our family will be taken care of in the meantime.
But what would happen to your clients? The day after you were seriously injured in a car accident, would they simply show up at your office, expecting to be seen as usual? Who would let them know what had happened, and when you might be back?
What if one of them went into crisis?
For all these reasons and more, every therapist and counselor in private practice should maintain what is called a Professional Will. This document outlines who notifies your clients, your supervisees, your employers, and others in the event that you become suddenly unavailable. It ensures that clients have continuity of care, your office bills continue to get paid, and that your loved ones aren’t left wrestling with confidentiality issues surrounding your clients while they also try to deal with whatever it is that has happened to you.
There are a handful of sample professional wills you can find online — here’s an example from the APA — but these examples are generally not especially detailed. As a result, they leave a lot of gaps relative to the average therapist’s practice. It’s good to have another therapist who is defined as the one who will take over for you, but what exactly are they supposed to do with your appointments, your records, the bills that automatically get charged to your credit card each month, your directory listings, your email, your social media accounts, and so on? A good Professional Will is as specific as possible to ease the burdens on the Executor and on your family (who undoubtedly would be the ones trying to answer the Executor’s questions).
Our Copy-and-Paste Professional Will makes it easy. It includes the following sections:
III. Circumstances in which this document should be executed
IV. Notification of the Executor and Secondary Executor
VI. Notifying clients, employers, supervisees, and others
VII. Continuity of care
VIII. Financial arrangements
IX. Long-term absence or death
XI. Compensation for the Executor
XV. Rights of the Executor
XVI. Certification of authenticity
As you can see, it is far more comprehensive than the sample wills you typically find online — and thus far easier on your Executor and on your family. With a simple fill-in-the-blank style — just copy the text from our document, and replace anything in red with information specific to your practice — it provides a complete view of your practice and your needs, in case you suddenly aren’t able to address them. (Of course, like any legal document, it’s strongly recommended that you have your final version reviewed by an attorney.)
No one likes to think about a tragedy happening to us. But if it does, don’t compound the stress on your family and colleagues by leaving them confused about what to do next. Have a Professional Will for your practice.
One more thing
If you’re using the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 to finally get all your policies in order, we’re here to help. You can get 30% off our Copy and Paste Professional Will by using coupon code RESOLUTION at checkout. (Offer good through January 14.)