TherapistWill.com assists private practice therapists in creating documents needed to fulfill an all-too-often unmet obligation: the obligation of creating and maintaining a professional will in the event of the therapist's unexpected death or incapacity. All private practice licensed psychotherapists and counselors are required by their governing ethical and/or legal bodies to create professional will for the continued care of patients in case of the therapist’s death or incapacity, and also for the maintenance of clinical files according to professional standards and legal requirements. As the name suggests, a "professional will" would be similar to a will or living trust one would have for her/his property. However, prior to the launch of Therapist Will, it seems that no such documents offered to therapists were created by estate planning attorneys – unless, perhaps, a therapist paid an attorney to create such a document, customized for that therapist. And a custom-designed document by an attorney can be very costly. Therapist Will fills this void at a low cost.
Our system has been vetted by estate planning attorneys in consultation with psychotherapists in each state where we offer Therapist Wills. We think this is crucial, because we are aware of many nightmare scenarios where estate planning documents were created by people who are not estate planning attorneys. Just as you would not go to an attorney for couples counseling, we think it is unwise to seek an estate planning type of document from someone who is not an estate planning attorney.
Not only are estate planning attorneys aware of relevant laws, but they are also attuned to procedural realities that should be included in Therapist Wills as well as traditional estate planning documents. For example, a good estate planning attorney always includes backup systems in a living trust or will. One example of such a system is a backup plan in case none of the people names as executor or trustee can serve.
Being aware of the many pitfalls that can plague an otherwise responsible therapist, we have taken pains to ensure that it is extremely unlikely, if not impossible, for you to make a wrong choice when creating your Therapist Will. We attempt to either limit your choices or advise you of your obligations in the process of creating your professional will.
We also know that it is impossible for us to think about all of the things that are important to you in creating your Therapist Will. That is why we offer the option of creating an “Exhibit A” which you can do on your own time and can change any time you want to after creating your Therapist Will.
Our purpose is to provide therapists with a practical, low-cost solution to this all-too-often unmet or insufficiently met obligation. Our motto sums it all up in two simple sentences: They require it. We make it easy.
About the Founder
TherapistWill.com was developed by Gadi Zohar, Esq., LMFT*. After having practiced as a psychotherapist for several years, Gadi went to law school where he focused his studies on wills, trusts and estates. Not long after he began to practice law, he asked some well-established estate planning attorneys for their trust terms for therapists in private practice. He was surprised to find that no colleagues included terms in their trusts that were as robust and pragmatic as they could be. So he developed terms in his living trusts for psychotherapists in private practice to provide for the continued care of clients and the proper maintenance of clinical files in case of the therapist’s death or incapacity.
Sometime later, Gadi began giving talks to psychotherapists about their ethical obligations and the risks of failing to provide for client care and clinical file maintenance. He received feedback that many therapists did not want to create an entire customized estate plan for the purposes of meeting their ethical and/or legal obligations vis a vis continued client care and clinical file management. He looked at various low-cost professional will solutions and found that all of them were lacking the perspective of a trusts and estates attorney. Most, in fact, included terms that were legally unenforceable or otherwise impractical.
With such an important unmet need for private practice therapists, Gadi Zohar set out to create TherapistWill.com. He understands how important it is, both legally and personally, for therapists to ensure their clients are cared for. He also understands how a person could inadvertently create terms that are not enforceable or terms that may conflict with existing traditional estate planning documents such as wills and trusts. He married these two perspectives into TherapistWill.com to provide a practical document that maintains safeguards to help ensure compliance with the law while providing the flexibility to create your personalized Therapist Will.
* Gadi Zohar does not provide professional psychotherapy or psychological counseling.