Carolyn Reinach Wolf, executive partner at Abrams Fensterman law firm, serves as director of the mental health practice.
Her bio says that she is one of the few US attorneys specializing in family-focused mental healthcare issues.
Fensterman observes that estate planning calls for families to place unusual trust in their advisor. Intimate issues need to be laid bare if the advisor is to provide comprehensive service that meets the client’s needs. This can draw the advisor into difficult matters, including family members who are stricken with mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse.
These problems often inflict family-wide suffering. The troubled party may have been in and out of treatment, willingly or otherwise. The family has likely spent large sums in trying to help the sufferer, perhaps to no avail. At this point, they often approach their financial advisor or estate planner for advice on providing better treatment, potentially over a very long-term horizon.
The first step, Fensterman counsels, is to provide families with accurate information on the legal rights of the suffering member. This issue can be stubbornly opaque and even professionals often get it wrong. The legal procedures for granting power of attorney over financial affairs, authority to commit a person to a medical treatment facility, or even ways to impose a restraining order must be understood and clearly explained to the family.
Financial advisors should also be prepared to provide contacts to professionals specializing in the pertinent area of need. For example, mental health attorneys, like Ms. Fensterman herself, can develop action plans for the short or long term to address the vital needs of the sufferer and protect the interests of the rest of the family.
For more information, please read:
When Clients’ Loved Ones Experience Mental Health Crises | Wealth Management