…a catastrophic injury or your sudden death? The remaining family members must go through a series of financial and legal steps. When you are a solopreneur or small business owner, the process for the family gets exceedingly more difficult and complex. Okay, that sounds awful but it gets even worse. If you are a Nurse Consultant, Life Care Planner, or Case Manager and suddenly become incapacitated or die without plans in place for the continuance, transfer or closure of your practice, chaos frequently results.
JUST FOR A MOMENT, IMAGINE WHAT YOUR FAMILY WILL BE FACED WITH:
- What cases are open and what are the deadlines?
- How do you identify the attorney-clients for notification? Where can a list of your current attorney-clients be found?
- Who would contact these attorney-clients once they are identified?
- Where are all the company documents, medical records and case files located?
- Who will handle telephone calls from unhappy clients who assumed you were working on their files, and are unaware of the change in your circumstances? How would you like to answer those (possibly angry) phone calls?
- What/who are subcontractors, what files do they have, and what money is owed to them?
- How will your family do an accounting for current attorney-clients and return any unearned retainer fees? Is there a power of attorney (POA)?
- What business fees and expenses need to be paid by your business before closure?
- How does your family know what professional service fees are still owed to your business?
- What software, vendors, accounts and services are used by your business? Who will cancel these accounts and subscriptions?
Do You Want To Do That To Your Family?
Of course, you don’t want to leave them with a stressful mess but unless you have a succession plan, that is exactly what you may end up doing. Let me tell you my story. After several years in business, my husband was standing in my office amongst the piles of current cases, medical records, and files sitting on my desk. He said, “What am I supposed to do with all of this if something happens to you?” I started to answer and realized that I had no idea what he would do. It was my business and the number of things that would need to be addressed was even overwhelming to me.
I realized everyone talks about planning when starting a business but very few people think about how to close the business. Closure can occur for all kinds of reasons, not just a tragic event. It could be related to selling your business, retirement, forming a partnership, ill health, or family circumstances. I started thinking how difficult it could be to liquidate a small business like mine. In considering forming a company to address succession planning needs, I consulted with other Nurse Consultants and Life Care Planners to validate the industry need. They had few tips or ideas to offer and basically no plans in place. I began to recognize their “I have never considered that” look, which is what I guess I gave my husband when he first asked me.