Psychotherapists and psychological counselors in private practice must plan for incapacity or death with considerations others may not think of. Various laws and ethical codes require that a therapist make a plan for the quick transition of existing clients and for the proper handling of clinical files in the event of the therapist’s death or incapacity.
The problem is that most templates for such plans are created by therapists, as opposed to trusts and estates attorneys!
Such documents are often called “professional wills” or some variation thereof. As the name suggests, these documents are more like wills or trusts. Only a trusts and estates attorney would know what to look for when creating such a document. Such documents created by therapists often miss important issues that a trusts and estates attorney would know to look for. For example, many such documents refer to an agent under a durable power of attorney. However, if the principal is dead, so is the durable power of attorney. Another common mistake in such documents is that they do not plan for various contingencies that a trusts and estates attorney is trained to consider.
While the best solution for this problem would be having a qualified and informed estate planning attorney draft a living trust or will with appropriate terms, many therapists do not want or feel they need to pay for such a custom document.
Soon there will be a service called TherapistWill.com which will allow therapists to easily create a professional will for less than the typical fee for one psychotherapy session! And the template for the TherapistWill(TM) has been reviewed by attorneys.
TherapistWill.com is the brainchild of Gadi Zohar, Esq., LMFT — a trusts and estates attorney who is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (he now practices exclusively as an attorney). He has taken what has otherwise been an expensive or cumbersome process and turned it into a simple, affordable 3-step solution. All one does is create a free user account, answer a series of questions, and after reviewing answers the therapist will be able to print out a personalized TherapistWill(TM). Therapists will even have 30 days after printing the document to return to their account and make corrections.
The final document includes explanations of each part of the document, guidelines for the implementation of the TherapistWill, and therapists will even have the opportunity to add a self-created addendum for information that is important to the therapist, but is not included in the standard template.