In 2013, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has a calendar brimming full of Elder Law Month activities in several states. Our bar’s “signature event” for seniors is Senior Law Day and this year’s program is scheduled for July 27, 2013, once again at the Denver Merchandise Mart. So if folks are feeling left out in Colorado, I urge my fellow solo and small firm attorney types to . . . make it a durable Power of Attorney day!?
Say what Barb? Sure, You’re another year older and another year wiser – but have you made any efforts to put your house in order? I presented a CLE in February called “Death of a Solo, Death of a Practice” and it was well-attended. I distributed my forms to several people as a result of the program, but I suspect there are others who are inclined to get started but need a nudge. So ask yourself:
- Are you planning on retiring someday or are you committed to die with your boots on?
- To stretch that expression: what happens if your boots fall off before you die?
- Who’s got your back in the event of disaster?
- How will your clients’ interests (and derivatively yours) be protected in the event of incapacity or disability?
- Do you intend to leave a big mess from your failure to plan for the inevitable or are you just willing to let that happen?
If I’m sounding cheeky, well it’s because I do like to find humor in end of life scenarios. Thankfully, I’m not alone.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.
—Hafiz (14th century Persian-born mystic and poet)
Our death-denying culture takes these things far too seriously! Death is part of life, and for many of us who enjoy the benefits of longevity, disability – in the guise of short-term or long-term incapacity – is one of the byproducts of longevity. It’s time to face the music and recognize that every day is precious and a gift, and that we don’t know or have control over how many more days we will have. Here’s another line about our fear of mortality:
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
—Rainer Maria Rilke
So if you would like to observe (no, I’m not going to use the term “celebrate”) Elder Law Month by making a plan for your law practice’s survival or for its demise, I can help. Get in touch with me and I can suggest some useful forms. The best place to get started however, is to identify a trusted colleague with whom you can share – perhaps mutually, that’s the best scenario – duties as each other assisting attorney (click here to read the recent Legal Connection article on succession planning by Amy Symons and Julie Davis). Bottom line is that you need to have documents in place. You can read posts from the current series on solo attorney succession planning on the CBA’s SOLOinCOLO blog.
Questions? You can reach me at barb@DenverElderLaw.org.