Defining a difficult subject- What happens if...
None of us get any younger and we all think we are immortal. However, as we all know, we are not immortal.
One of the questions I pose wearing my Non Exec hat is the difficult one of what happens if one of your partners or partner dies, has an accident that leaves them incapacitated or discovers a debilitating disease. Have you a plan to cope with it?
Especially in the Finance world we tend to be a bit older when setting up an independent business for the first time. We may have the personal wealth to commit to such a venture with a partner or partners but what happened if….
I have been struck on the number occasions people have said they have nothing in place. Two recent examples were well past the initial stage as a business and were employing a considerable number of people either, directly in the case of a Fund Management business, and indirectly, in the case of a Property Development Partnership, I told them to go away and think about it.
It’s a difficult subject but one a good NED should not only be prepared to ask but also facilitate reaching the answer for the business founder. It cant be done overnight and it may well mean spending some time away from the business to think it through and get something in place. It will definitely take time to get it right and will need to be dusted down and looked at every few years When it happens, which we all hope it never does, there is a continuity plan in place. If not it could be a long drawn out process which will only add to the bereaved party and may lengthen the probate process.
So please be responsible to your business partners, employees and all the families involved and grasp the nettle and put something in place. Actually at the end of it you will feel a lot better that you have a plan in place.