Planning Ahead Guide

Planning Ahead - EstablishING an Advance Exit Plan to Protect Your Clients’ Interests in the Event of Your Disability, Retirement or Death

It is not easy to think about circumstances that could render you unable to continue practicing law.  Unfortunately, accidents, illness, disability, planned or unplanned retirement, and untimely death are events which do occur. Under any of these circumstances, your clients’ interests, as well as your own, must be protected.

The New York State Bar Association Planning Ahead Guide is provided to all attorneys as a courtesy of the New York State Bar Association and outlines the steps a lawyer must take to protect his or her clients in the event of a sudden inability to continue in practice.  The Committee on Law Practice Continuity created the guide in 2005 to help attorneys establish an advance exit plan in the event of disability, retirement or death.  The Committee on Law Practice Continuity became a part of the Law Practice Management Committee in 2011.   The LPM Committee is presently updating the guide to reference the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. 

Download the entire book as a PDF (free)

Download interactive form-fill forms as PDFs (free)

*This book is not available for purchase as a hard copy publication. 

Planning Ahead: Establish An Advance Exit PlanTo Protect Your Clients’ Interests In the Event Of Your Disability, Retirement Or Death 

  • What If? Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  • Checklist for Lawyers Planning to Protect Clients’ Interests in the Event of the Lawyer’s, Disability, Impairment, Incapacity or Death
  • Checklist for Closing Your Own Office 
  • Checklist for Closing Another Attorney’s Office 
  • Checklist for Concerns When Assuming Temporary Responsibilities of Another Attorney’s Practice Whether Resulting from the Disability or Suspension of the Other Attorney
  • Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future 
  • Authorization and Consent to Close Law Practice (Short Form)
  • Limited Power of Attorney to Manage Law Practice at a Future Date
  • PCs and PLLCs: Appointing the Appropriate Agent to Manage a Solo Law Practice in the Event of a Death, Disability or Other Inability to Practice Law
  • Letter from Closing or Caretaker Attorney Advising that Lawyer is Unable to Continue in Practice
  • Request for File (Sample Form)
  • Acknowledgement of Receipt of File
  • Authorization for Transfer of Client File
  • FAQs - Document Destruction and Preservation 
  • Letter from Planning Attorney Advising That Lawyer is Closing His/Her Office
  • Letter from Firm Offering to Continue Representation
  • Law Office List of Contacts 
  • Checklist for the Executor of a Solo Practitioner 
  • Special Provisions for Attorney’s Will 
  • Transfer of a Law Practice 
  • Checklist of Concerns When Assuming the Responsibility of Another Attorney’s Practice Whether Resulting from the Purchase of the Practice or Termination of the Other Attorney’s Practice
  • Sample Asset Purchase Agreement between Executor and Purchaser 
  • Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement 
  • Interruption of a Practice Due to a Lawyer’s Alcoholism or Other Drug Addiction
  • Checklist for Lawyers’ Business Disaster Planning and Recovery 
  • Relevant Excerpts from the CPLR and the Judiciary Law 
  • Disciplinary Rules, Ethics Opinions and Ethics Opinions Relating to Law Practice Continuity
  • “Ten Things Not to Do When You Retire,” an article by David Kee

For more information about the Senior Lawyers Section, visit

For more information about Retiring or Selling/Closing your law practice, click here.