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Professional Executor

Every practitioner who works with clients should appoint a therapeutic executor. A therapeutic executor is someone, usually a trusted colleague, who has primary responsibility to inform the manager of your placement, or announce the temporary or permanent closure of your private practice, in the event of your death, sudden illness, or serious accident. The executor will ensure that clients are notified and referred and that client records are protected.

Your professional executor should also be a therapist and needs to consent to act for you in this way. You should not appoint a close friend or family member, as such people may find it difficult to carry out the necessary tasks in the aftermath of something happening to you. You should inform your next of kin as to who you have asked to undertake this role for you.

To make sure that your professional executor can carry out their tasks, you should create a report containing all the information they need, should the situation arise. This report should be kept in a secure place, and its whereabouts, along with the name and contact details of your professional executor, should be given to at least two further trusted people. These people will be able to inform the executor, should the executor need to act on your behalf. Your report, which needs to be reviewed annually, must include: 

* Your office address and where to find keys to your filing cabinets

* Your computer password(s), email accounts, and login details for any software you may use

* Details of how to retrieve messages from your answerphone, if this is one of the ways that clients may contact you

* Details of the kind of message you would like placed on your email and phone in the event of your death, serious injury or illness

* Information about where you keep your diary or appointment book, your client records, and your computer back-ups

* Instructions for contacting your clients and how they should be contacted (for example, by phone, email or letter)

* Details of other private practitioners or organisations who are likely to accept referrals for ongoing clients

* Details of any other individuals or professional bodies who will need to be informed, such as your therapist, supervisor, training institute, placement manager and insurance company

* Details of any payment that you wish to make to the executor for carrying out their duties

* In the case of your death, whether you are content for clients to come to your funeral