What is a “Professional Will” legal document for healthcare professionals?

Introduction

As a healthcare professional, you have worked hard to build a successful practice and serve your patients. But what happens if you can no longer work due to illness, injury, or death? A professional will is a crucial document that ensures the continuity of your practice and the care of your patients. This blog post will explore the importance of a professional will and the key elements it should include.

What is a Professional Will?

A professional will is a legal document that outlines a plan for the continuation of your healthcare practice if you become incapacitated or pass away. It ensures that your patients, staff, and legacy are protected. Generally a professional will does not include an ownership change – which would be better handled in a “buy-sell” or ownership agreement. A professional will is largely designed to make sure patient operations are sound and someone is in control in the absence of the original owner(s).

Key Elements of a Professional Will

Designation of a Successor

Choose a qualified successor to manage and operate your practice. This person should understand your practice’s operations and share your commitment to patient care.

Practice Transition Plan

Outline the steps for transferring your practice to the successor, including:

  • Notifying patients and the public
  • Transferring patient medical records
  • Handling financial obligations
  • Managing practice staff
  • Communicating with third-party payers

Financial Considerations

Address the financial aspects of your practice, including:

  • Outstanding debts
  • Accounts receivable
  • Distribution of practice assets
  • Sale or transfer provisions

Patient Care Continuity

Ensure the ongoing care of your patients by specifying:

  • Communication procedures for notifying patients
  • Secure transfer of medical records
  • Coordination of active patient cases
  • Handling outstanding appointments or treatment plans

Staff Management

Include provisions for managing your practice’s staff, such as:

  • Notification of employees
  • Severance packages or retention bonuses
  • Reassignment plans
  • Training for the transition

End-of-Life Directives

In some cases, include personal end-of-life directives, such as medical treatment preferences and funeral arrangements.

Importance of a Professional Will

Continuity of Care

Ensure that your patients’ care continues seamlessly with a qualified successor, maintaining trust and confidence.

Practice Preservation

Protect the future of your practice from being sold or mismanaged by designating a successor and outlining a transition plan.

Staff Stability

Provide stability for your employees by addressing their needs and concerns during the transition.

Financial Security

Clarify the financial aspects of your practice to ensure obligations are met and assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Peace of Mind

Give your patients, staff, and loved ones peace of mind knowing that your practice and legacy are protected.

Conclusion

A professional will is essential for healthcare professionals to ensure the continuity of their practice and care for their patients. By taking the time to create a comprehensive professional will, you can protect your life’s work and provide peace of mind to those who depend on you.