As agency owners, we talk about succession planning as though we’re guaranteed to call the shots. But sometimes, that’s not how it plays out. Is your family protected, no matter what the circumstance?
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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week, coming to you from Lakeland, Florida. You know, we talk a lot about agency owners’ succession plans and figuring out what you want to do when you want to retire. Do you want to sell the agency? Just close it down? But I’ve been having a couple of conversations with agency owners lately about what’s their short-term plan if something unexpected happens? If you were to be incapacitated or, God forbid, killed, what happens to your agency? And most agencies don’t have a plan for that. And so, I want you to think about the reality of what happens if there is no plan. So, if you have a spouse or children and there is no plan, then they inherit the agency. And I have seen several agency owners who have, in essence by accident, left their agency to their wife or their adult, or sometimes young children. And those people have no capacity to run your agency. And so, you’ve got to take some time to think about what you want to have happen in the case of some sort of tragedy. And that might be hiring an advisor, putting in your will that an advisor comes in and runs the agency and helps your team get it ready to sell. It might be that you have an advisor lined up to counsel your spouse or your kids about the options with an agency. It may be that you have a trust set up or an insurance policy that just basically lets your employees wind the agency down, and that your heirs would then get the insurance money as opposed to the agency itself. There’s no right or wrong answer about how you want to handle something if again, God forbid, something happens to you. But the right answer is you need to have a plan. You need to have something in place so that… You know, imagine your family is devastated by whatever happened to you, and now they’re having to deal with the agency as well, or they’re having to deal with the uncertainty of not knowing how or what you wanted done with the agency. So, don’t leave them in that position. Protect those that you love by having a plan in place. And this needs to be in your will. It needs to be carefully explained to your family members. You need your family attorney or your business attorney to weigh in, as well. There are many, many options of how you want this to play out. And hopefully, you never have to take advantage of those options, but make sure that you have something in play, not just for the long term but for something unexpected that may happen that would put your family in a real bind in terms of both emotionally and mentally and financially dealing with something that they weren’t anticipating either. So, think about it, have a plan, talk to those that you love about your plan so everyone knows what the deal is. Make sure it’s documented in a way that it’s easy to find and that you have several people, attorneys, bankers, whoever it may be that have access to those documents, so they can help your family or your significant other, or whoever you involve in that estate planning to deal with the agency and the aftermath of whatever is going to happen there. So, don’t leave this for chance. I’ve seen it left for chance a couple of times, and it never played out well. So, this is something that you should be thoughtful about and have a plan, and put that plan into play. All right? I know it’s not a happy topic, but let’s protect everybody that you love now, and then hopefully, again, you’ll never have to use it. All right? I’ll see you next week.