Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Preparing a Professional Will

What would happen to your clients if you died?

It's a morbid thought to be sure. But with last week's tragedy in Omaha -- and the recent death of a mental health therapist I know -- it got me to thinking again about how we have a responsibility to our clients to set up a "buddy" system and prepare a professional will.

What if you didn't die? What if you just got sick or disabled?

While it's difficult to think about, the reality is that the resume writing industry has lost some members in recent years. And it's prudent to take steps now to help your clients in the event that you're not able to.

First, start by identifying a short list of colleagues you can trust to make decisions for you. Each "emergency response team" member needs to agree to be your buddy. Make sure that at least one of the buddies is close enough to you that he or she would be notified quickly if there was an accident or illness. This individual would, in turn, notify the other buddies. A family member or friend needs to know your passwords and have access to your files and office (including a key, if necessary).

Then, prepare your professional will. It should include your buddies, with contact information. It should also include a list of your current professional association affiliations, with contact information, so the organization can be notified in the event of your death. If you subcontract write, it should include contact information for that individual or firm too. The will should detail how to find your open cases and pending appointments, including contact information. (Provide the code to access your voice mail messaging system too.)

Taking an hour or two to develop your professional will and pick your buddies will save your family -- and clients -- a lot of trouble and heartache in the future.

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