Black Friday: Death, Dissolution, and the Small Business Owner

As businesses ready themselves for the annual onslaught known simply as "Black Friday" (or, in some cases, Thanksgiving afternoon), it is important to ask - how can a business plan for a truly dark day? For the small business owner or small partnership, the death of an individual can throw everything into flux.

For the individual business owner, having a plan in place is essential. Questions such as "how will my employee(s) be paid?" or "what will happen to my customers?" should be addressed. If the business is to pass from one family member to another, a succession procedure should be in place. Given all the time and effort the individual owner pours into their business, it can be easy to overlook such important considerations. However, knowing the answer to these questions is invaluable.

Partnerships also must prepare for the death of a partner. Hopefully, the partners have a written partnership agreement in place that specifically addresses a dead or otherwise incapacitated partner. If not, state law determines what to do after a partner dies. This will mean disassociation and possibly dissolution.

Avoid a Black Friday of a different sort. Determine what plans can be made for a small business or partnership.

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