Professional Wills for the Solo Medical or Mental Health Professional

If you are a solo medical or mental health professional, what will happen to your practice in the event of unexpected incapacity or death?  For practical, ethical, and legal reasons, it is important to have a “Plan of Action” in place.

To be licensed as a medical doctor or a psychologist in Michigan, the licensee must attest to (1) having a written policy for protection, maintaining, and providing access to medical records, and (2) ensuring that these records are not abandoned upon death and that the records are transferred to a successor licensee.

This legal requirement invites more questions:  Who will act on your behalf to maintain and transfer your records?  How will your representative gain access to your office and your digital assets? Where are your client records stored?  How do you contact your clients, and how should your representative notify your clients of your death?  Who are your billing company and liability insurance provider?  Who should be responsible for the lease or mortgage and for considering tax matters?

Under the law, the personal representative of your estate is responsible for winding up your business and transferring your medical records.  But, it is important to consider whether your personal representative, usually a family member or friend, is capable of undertaking these duties.  Instead, you may consider appointing a separate personal representative to assist in transitioning or closing your practice.  By developing a Professional Plan of Action, you can designate this fiduciary and layout specific instructions to assist the fiduciary in the closing of your practice.

At Levine & Levine, our estate planning attorneys can seamlessly integrate your Professional Plan of Action with your personal estate plan.  In addition to your personal will, trust (if necessary), Durable Power of Attorney, and Durable Designation of Patient Advocate, our attorneys will discuss with you additional documents that can tie together your personal and professional estate.  If you’d like to set up an appointment to discuss your personal estate plan and a Professional Plan of Action, please call.