Professional Will as it Relates to a Social Worker, Therapist, or Psychologist-WMHCA

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2 CEs-Recorded Fall, 2022

You May Not Know it, but Your Professional Ethics Likely Require you to Have a Professional Will! You have spent your professional career securing and storing medical records and ensuring your clients’ confidentiality. What happens to these records when you retire, become disabled, or die?

Did you know that even if you die, your estate could be held responsible for malpractice complaints and legal actions brought about by your failure to anticipate your demise?

For psychologists, your Code of Ethics dictates that you are expected to “make reasonable efforts to plan for facilitating services in the event that psychological services are interrupted by factors such as the psychologist’s illness, death, unavailability, relocation or retirement…” The same ethical mandate applies to Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Social Workers.

This two-hour workshop provides information and examples of how you can prepare for such a situation – creating a Professional Will and identifying a Professional Executor to handle the legal and ethical details necessary to protect yourself and your practice. If something happens to you, you need a similarly licensed professional (not your spouse or child) to deal with your clients/patients, confidential records, office leases, obtaining releases, make referrals, etc. In addition, your clients/patients will likely need help in their grieving and necessary transition to another therapist.

OBJECTIVES: After attending this workshop, attendees will understand that a Professional Will is a legal and ethical “list of instructions” that: ● Name the professional you have designated to assume responsibility for your clients and/or their records. ● Identify the tasks that are needed to pause, or completely wind down, your practice. ● Describe how you would like your clients, and professional colleagues, to be informed. ● Provide information for how your designee might be compensated.

Outline Explanation of professional will and ethics requirements - 15 min Role of Professional Executor and Choosing One - 15 min. Lists of tasks to be completed - 15 min. Sample Professional Wills - 15 min. Financial aspects and compensation for Executor - 15 min. Records issues and requirements - 10 min. Unplanned Interruptions/Endings of Practice - 10 min. Crafting messages to clients and colleagues - 10 min. Questions - 15 min.

EPDC CE Hours: 2
Presenter: Sandy Voit

Sandy Voit, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, specializes in personal finances counseling, helping professionals in starting, and retiring, from private practices, retirement planning, and helping divorcing couples negotiate financial settlements. Sandy earned an MS in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University at Albany. After a career in higher education administration for 27 years, at five universities (including positions as Director of Financial Aid, and Dean of Students at Bastyr University), he served as executive director at a large synagogue in Seattle, before establishing a financial counseling private practice in 2006. He has served on many boards, including the Association of Divorce Financial Professionals, King County Collaborative Law, National Association of Temple Administrators, and is currently on the board of Puget Consumer’s Co-op (PCC) board (for 20 years, but not consecutively), including several terms as chair.