I have read that approximately 60% of people never do any estate planning-no Will, no Trust, no healthcare directive. Just think about the Terri Schiavo case, and how the lack of any healthcare directive can cause confusion and conflict in a family. Various statistics say that people spend more time planning a vacation or birthday party and definitely more time watching television, than thinking about what would happen if they are incapacitated or worse, not around anymore. Thinking about our own mortality is not fun (for most of us at least), and decisions about your own affairs can be very daunting. Also, if you are in the small group of people who are self-employed, there is another layer of complexity—what happens to your business if you die?
Are things set-up so your business can operate without you? Are managers in place to operate your company? Are they aware of your wishes as to how the company should go on? Do you care if your business is immediately sold, or do you want your company and legacy to continue on?
Business can, at times, be the most valuable and the most vulnerable asset you leave for you loved ones-therefore the hardest one to manage and maintain.
One of the major breaking news stories yesterday, was the merger between two local television stations, KPSP Local 2 and KSEQ 3.
In a statement posted to KESQ's website, Jim Houston said, "KPSP was a labor of love for my wife Jackie Lee Houston. In addition to its excellent local news commitment, the station has made a tremendous contribution to the non-profit community of the Coachella Valley. With her passing, we have now made the difficult decision to find a new owner for our television operation. While a number of options were carefully considered, a merger with the Bradley family, owners of Gulf-California (KESQ-TV) was ultimately chosen as the best opportunity.”
From the statement above, it is clear that Mrs. Houston’s passing played a role in KPSP Local 2 being sold at this time. From my understanding, KPSP will operate as a separate station, but due to this merger, structural changes have been made and many people have lost their jobs.
Clearly, some decisions will need to be made about your business, if you are not around, so here are some things to consider long-term:
· Can your business operate without you at this very moment? Can it ever operate without you? If yes, who can run it for you?
· Who would you assign as manager? What direction(s) would that person need in order to run the company as you do?
· Are you opposed to mergers or your company being liquidated? If yes, what would you like to occur?
For many entrepreneurs, their business is their baby. In that case, considering a few of these questions is a worthy pursuit.