Learning from the Boy Scouts: Are you prepared?

Be prepared – the Boy Scout motto reminds us that we can’t always predict what life will throw at us.

Continuity is critical to successful businesses, even more so in those enterprises where a single person – you – perform the most critical functions (check signatory, salesman, foreman, etc.).  The leaner your organization, the more risk that an accident or illness causing your incapacity will result in irreversible damage to your business in your absence.

Are you prepared?  Do you have appropriate plans in place not only for your personal life but also your business life?

Take some time to put a contingency plan in place to ensure that your business is taken care of in the event that you are incapacitated.  Your attorney can provide you with several options to consider.  Your plan should include instructions for both a short- and long-term incapacity.  Short-term incapacitation could be handled through a contingency-based power of attorney (that takes effect when you are rendered under certain predefined circumstances); a long-term solution might include a “planned receivership” (although this requires post-debilitating-event court action, you can plan ahead by ensuring that your attorney and family know who you want to be placed in receivership of the business).

If you’re in a partnership, does your partnership agreement prevent effective running of the business unless both/all partners are available.  Is it necessary to amend the agreement or to put other documents in place that realign, even if temporarily, the authorities granted to each partner in the event that another is incapacitated?

No entrepreneur or business owner likes the thought of putting another in control of “his” or “her” business but at the time these plans are actualized you are no longer in control yourself; the business is effectively leaderless.

Accidents and illness happen; they are not pleasant to think about or plan for.  Taking the time to plan today will reduce the stress on you, your family, your finances, and your business later.

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