Staring up at a mountain of uncertainty, like 2020 delivered, can force all of us to take stock of our lives, relationships and future. We call this “mortality reality”. We have all come face-to-face with the scary realization that at any moment either we or a loved one could be gone, and that the future of family businesses can turn on a dime.
None of us want to have the grim conversations about what happens if we lose someone, but the best time to have that conversation is when you don’t need to have it. Only 33% of the US population has any sort of advanced directive. The middle of a crisis is not the time to make decisions about a business, a family, medical care, or financial complications. What can you do now to plan for an inevitability that none of us want to face? Here are some things to consider,
A power of attorney? Medical power of attorney?
Several of us at REGENERATION recently faced the situation of having a loved one incapacitated in the hospital and having to make difficult decisions regarding medical care. This situation is made so much easier for both family members and medical staff when simple documents like a power of attorney and a living will have been put in place. Answering questions like, “Who will be responsible to meet with doctors?”, or “Who will be in charge of taking care of those at home?” or “What if we have to put Mom/Dad on ventilation? Or dialysis?” These are hard decisions that are frequently made without the input of the person who is sick. And although you may think you know what that person would want, that confidence can quickly fade when faced with the reality.
Planning for what’s next
Should the unthinkable happen then what? Who do we need to contact for legal, financial, and business matters? Who takes care of the remaining spouse? How is the estate settled? How do family heirlooms get distributed? Making a difficult task even moderately easier by planning ahead is a blessing that you can give your family.
Succession planning for the family business
A family business can make all of this even more complicated. What if the owner gets sick for an extended period of time? Who runs the business during his/her absence? What if there is a death in the family? How will the business be run moving forward? Who is in charge? Who has ownership? Discussing these difficult questions as a family BEFORE you are thrown into a crisis is actually a gift to your family that will give everyone greater peace of mind.
There are many things about our life and death that we cannot control, but the parts we can control we should. Making decisions as a family instead of one person being thrust into a position of authority in the middle of a crisis will benefit everyone and remove as much uncertainty as possible. This past year might have shown you or a family member the reality of your mortality but that doesn’t mean it’s too late. At REGNERATION we work every day with families to help them put these plans in place. If you aren’t sure where to start let us help you.