Planning For Disability
Tuesday Jan 30, 2007
Nathan R. Lynch PLLC
Attorneys at Law
58 South Street • P.O. Box 573
Walpole, NH 03608
Phone: 603-756-4700 • Fax: 888-766-5601
PLANNING FOR DISABILITY
The only way to maintain some degree of control over our lives in the event we become physically or mentally disabled at some point in the future is to plan ahead and make choices today about a disability that may or may not occur at some point in the future. The first step you should take is to execute a Durable Power of Attorney.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
There are several types of Durable Powers. You can have a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs and you can have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. A few key points to remember are as follows:
- Each state has its own requirements for the execution of legal documents and so it is very dangerous to download forms on the internet or rely on pre-printed forms.
- It would be wise to have your Durable Power of Attorney drafted by an attorney licensed in your state that is familiar with these types of documents.
- Only a person that is mentally competent may execute a Durable Power of Attorney.
- A Durable Power of Attorney can be of a general nature or it can be limited. If you are contemplating the sale of a practice in the event of a disability you are probably going to want to use a "Limited Durable Power of Attorney".
- A Durable Power of Attorney will not survive your death. In most cases because your spouse is not a dentist and not an owner of your practice, your Practice will vest in the person you name as the executor of your estate.
VETERINARY PRACTICE ACTS
Many states, but not all, require Veterinary Practices to be owned by a veterinarian. The non-veterinarian spouse will in all likelihood be the executor of the veterinarian's estate. This puts the non-veterinary spouse in the awkward position of having to deal with the transfer of a veterinary practice that he or she might not otherwise be legally able to own. I will not render a legal opinion as to the status of the practice during this transition period, but the following is obvious:
- You need to give your spouse a letter of direction and specifically state in that letter whom your spouse should call in the event of your death. You should specifically name your choice for a practice broker, attorney, accountant and any other consultants you normally use.
- Your practice should have a current appraisal that is no more than five years old.
- If you die unexpectedly, the value of your practice will evaporate rapidly and you must let your spouse know this reality and inform your spouse to execute everything in your letter of direction immediately.
PEER AID AND DISABILITY GROUP
A Peer Aid and Disability Group is an excellent way to provide a mutual assistance program of participating veterinarians to a stricken participant and/or the family in the event the participant is unable to continue his/her practice due to illness, disability or death.
A group of ten (10) veterinarians is the absolute minimum to form a Peer Aid and Disability Group. If you are not involved in a Peer Aid and Disability Group, but would like to form a group you can contact Nathan R. Lynch, Esq. at the above-captioned phone number. The key to forming an aid society is a well crafted legal document and high quality participants.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan R. Lynch, Esq. is an attorney licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut. Attorney Lynch is a practice transition attorney serving the veterinary community.