Are You Prepared For The Unexpected?
Imagine getting a call that changes the trajectory of your life and business. The patriarch of the family has passed without any warning whatsoever. A morbid subject to be writing about, but one that is real and a scenario that happens all too often.
As business owners you find things moving along just fine. Everyone is where they need to be, business is good, family is happy and taken care of, and all things are in order. You are filled with the feeling, “Everything is absolutely fine and there is no worry for the future.” Until the unexpected happens.
We never want to consider the loss of a family member, much less anything happening to us as a business owner. Sure, as we age, we know that there is an inevitable end and so we often plan for it as it happens. However, when we are still active, healthy, engaged, and involved, we do not want to consider an end or what that might look like, because after all we are not there yet. Unfortunately, when the unexpected happens, and the proper planning has not been done, the family and the business are left scrambling. They are left wondering what your wishes were for the future of them and the business. From the simpler, yet emotional things like planning for services, to the more complex and technical like running the business. Are you prepared for the unexpected?
Although we do not want to consider what the end might look like for us, it is something we must prepare for, regardless of our age or health. Here are two significant areas that will help ensure you have set your family and business up for success (and less stress) should the unexpected happen:
- Estate, Trust, and Will Planning – Almost a no-brainer, however we often see multi-unit franchise owners who have not considered making sure they have their estates and wills in place. Should something unexpectedly happen to you, consider if you want your family having to make funeral or other arrangements, not knowing what your wishes are. Worse, if they have to navigate it all without you while navigating the emotions of the loss. Ensure that you have your wishes documented as to what, when, where, or how you would like your services to be held. Also consider the wishes of your estate not only personally, but from a financial perspective in order to protect the interest of the family. Not planning for either of these or having it documented can leave your family in an emotional and financial lurch.
- Business Planning – It is critical to ensure the wishes for your business and family are documented. However, it’s also very important to ensure you have outlined your intentions for the other relationships tied to your business. Investors, partners, franchisors, vendors/suppliers, employees, and so on. You have to make sure that you plan for your legacy to continue through them based on what your intentions and wishes are, rather than leaving any area open for the unknown.
We never want to consider what our end looks like. However, when we make the commitment as business owners, we owe it to ourselves, our families, our employees, and all those that touch our lives and business to ensure we have the proper protections in place. Even though everything may seem like it’s going well now, it’s imperative to take control of the unexpected by planning for it before it happens.
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