As we all know, there are only two things about which we can be certain…death and taxes.  It is typically lawyers and funeral directors who recommend you plan for your death. You may be surprised to know, however, that the College also urges you to make such plans.

In the three short years that the College has been in existence, we have learned of the unfortunate passing of many Members.  Some have lived long and fulfilling lives, both personal and professional, while others have been taken too soon by illness or accident. In most of these cases, the College learns of their death in roundabout ways.

Most often, we learn that a Member has passed through other Members who let us know. In some cases, it’s a clinic colleague who has died, or in others, a good friend calls or writes to let us know. Periodically, we will notice an obituary or memoriam in the paper or in an association publication.

As morbid as this topic may seem, the College has some considerations for you that are specific to your naturopathic practice. Whether you have your own independent practice or work with others in a clinic, some planning is needed to cover the eventuality of your death.  Here are some things you should consider.

  • Your patients must be notified as to where your patient records will be retained and how they might access them.
  • Your patients should be notified and provided with some guidance as to whom they might wish to see in your place.
  • The executor of your estate should be made aware of the legal requirements for patient records and, ideally, your instructions as to who will take custody/control of your records and/or assume your practice. The Standard of Practice for Record Keeping outlines the requirements for the retention and transfer of patient records.
  • The executor should be given clear guidance by you to notify the College of your death (this saves  potentially upsetting notices from the College in the future for failure to pay fees) and about the disposition of your records because we need to post this information on the College’s Public Register.

Death and taxes - two things many of us dislike thinking about, let alone talking or reading about, yet both should be planned for in advance.

Live long and prosper.