Colleague Corner: Jim McVittie on DocuBank and LGBT Clients

By: Tiffany Brown

In our first Colleague Corner post, Jim McVittie talks about one of the reasons he began providing DocuBank for his clients. 

In my area I specialize in serving the LGBT community. The main reason I started providing DocuBank is because a large portion of my client base consists of same-sex couples as well as unmarried opposite-sex couples. I recognized that their DocuBank membership, and the documents stored therein, would be an integral part in my client’s ability to prove the legal authority of the non-ill partner to physicians and hospital staff. In addition to the health care authorization forms that I prepare for my clients, DocuBank stores my client’s domestic partnership agreements, certificate of registered domestic partnership or marriage certificate. As a result, my clients have not had any problems with their agent’s authority being recognized. In addition, a number of our clients are medical professionals, doctors, nurses, and emergency room physicians. I’m always amazed when those medical professionals tell me they wish everyone had something like DocuBank.

I include DocuBank as a regular part of my practice, and have been doing so for about eight years now. New clients get a DocuBank membership as part of their estate planning package. Old clients who did their planning before I started using DocuBank get “upgraded” to DocuBank for free when they update their estate plans. In my initial meeting with clients I review a sample estate planning portfolio with them. When we get to the health care section I show them a sample DocuBank card and explain to them how DocuBank works. Most have never known anything like DocuBank existed and are excited to see how it works. If they had health care authorizations in place previously, they had been packing up their documents and taking them with them when they travel. Most are relieved to know they no longer need to do that.

Jim McVittie is an estate planning attorney serving the Portland, Oregon community. You can learn more about his practice at

June 18, 2014 | Advance Care Planning Tools