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February 2007

How prepared are you? Part 2

In the first of this two part series, Tammy described the sudden passing of her mother and shared some thoughts on how to cope with losing someone vital in business or someone who is a vital part of your family.

My mother was a very thoughtful person and she understood how difficult her passing would be for those still here. One of the things she and my father did was to make all of their own funeral arrangements. Although, for some this would be difficult, for mother it was another way to spare those left behind hundreds of details in a time of deep sorrow.

In my job as a consultant, I see a great number of very successful entrepreneurs who are doing, earning, getting, and achieving. Part of the lesson that I learned from my mother’s example is the value of planning. She did not wait to make her estate plans until she became ill; she planned long before that. Smart entrepreneurs need to make succession plans for their businesses. Smart people need to take the steps to make sure they have given prudent thought to how to leave their affairs in good order.

Fortunately, there are a few easy steps that can really help. Consider designating an executor who can step in immediately to manage your personal and business affairs if you are incapacitated. Consider executing a power of attorney for this person so that your affairs will be in the hands of someone you trust should the unthinkable happen. The power of attorney may be special or limited, or general.

Consider seeing an attorney to prepare a living will and other documents to make your intentions concerning medical care known to your loved ones or your health care providers. Remember the case of Terri Schiavo in Florida. The courts fought for years over conflicting accounts of her end-of-life wishes. Put yours in writing and make sure that all the relevant parties know your intentions.

A surprising number of people are still getting around to doing their estate planning. My mother’s example reminds me of how little we know about how long we will be here. Get your estate planning done today. If you have an estate plan, is it current? Wills need updating if there has been a change in your estate or family makeup.

Finally, have a succession plan for your business or have a liquidation plan in your will or testament. Nothing can erase the hurt of losing a loved one, but careful planning now can make it easier for all those who are left behind.

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Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!

Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.





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