You want the medical, legal, or financial practice you have built over the course of your career to be a lasting legacy long after you are gone. Your dream is that the children and grandchildren of your current patients and clients will be able to get the same great service you provided for decades from your chosen successor.
This is an admirable goal, but it will not happen unless you do specialized business succession planning now. We all know that life can throw serious curveballs, so the sooner you get a plan in place, the better. Protecting your practice from the unknown consequences of unexpectedly losing its founder and primary practitioner starts today!
Unique Succession Planning Needs of a Professional Practice
Every business owner who hopes for the continuation of their business in the event of their sudden death or incapacitation needs a succession plan, but doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and other professionals face unique challenges. The owner of a retail store might have many options when naming a successor, from family members to long-time employees. However, the owner of a professional practice will need to name a successor with the same education, skillset, and licensing as they have.
Additional challenges include:
- Establishing standards of care. You don’t want your practice to go to just anyone who happens to have the same profession as you. You want a successor who is committed to providing the same type of care and level of service upon which you built your business. This means you will need to hand-pick your successor rather than allowing the practice to be sold.
- Retaining patients and clients. Your practice’s most valuable assets are your current patients or clients. While you can’t force them to continue with your successor, you can increase the likelihood that they will stay with the practice if you choose someone familiar to them or who clearly has the same ideals as you.
- Earning the loyalty of skilled staff members. Likewise, you hope that your nurses, para-professionals, office administrators, and junior professionals will choose to stay with the practice after you are gone. Including trusted staff members in the decision-making process can help the transition.
- Observing ethical restrictions. As a medical provider or lawyer, you owe confidentiality to your patients and clients, so you will have to ensure the protection of your records according to the laws that govern your area of professional practice. A solid succession plan can ensure compliance with the standards of your profession.
These are challenging goals, but they are not impossible to achieve. When you work with an experienced asset protection and succession planning attorney, you can be sure the legacy you built will survive.
What Your Succession Plan Will Look Like
Every one of our business and professional clients is unique, so the succession plan we create with them will also be unique. However, a professional practice succession plan will likely have the following elements:
- A named successor. This is the most difficult piece of the puzzle, but if you have identified a person you would trust to take over your business if you become incapacitated or die unexpectedly, it’s important to get it down in writing as soon as possible.
- A succession plan. There are several legal arrangements that can be made to plan for the succession of your practice. Your lawyer will help you decide on the one that makes the most sense for you. One popular option is creating a buy-sell agreement to ensure that your chosen successor is able to transition into ownership when the time comes.
- A plan for transition. The closer you are to leaving the practice—voluntarily or otherwise—the more important it is to train your successor and prepare other interested parties for the change. Communicating your wishes to your family and staff is an important part of this process.
Are You Looking for an Asset Protection Attorney in Texarkana, TX?
If you own a professional practice in Texas or Arkansas, it is important that you meet with an asset protection and business planning attorney sooner rather than later. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, and Longview, as well as Magnolia and Hot Springs, AR!