Texas Probate Court Is Not Your Best Planning Partner

It’s not often that I work with someone who is “quite a bit older” than I am; but, recently I had the privilege of working with someone who is. I’ll be really blessed when I reach his age and am as sharp and aware as he is.

But, his acute mind and obvious business success have totally missed an important element that his age should be telling him: you must do something to set your company up, and your heirs up, to be in the best position to operate your company after you’re gone. Whether “gone” means gone fishing and not involved in the business or gone as in “gone for good.” The only way I could reach him was when I told him that the State of Texas was not a wise choice of partners in his business planning. Probate is not a great option for a business leader.

Now think about this. If you are gone from the business for any reason and for an extended period of time, don’t you want it to continue? Don’t you want it to, in fact, prosper? What should you be doing now to ensure that your extended leave is not going to totally destroy the thing you’ve spent a lifetime building?

Let me be clear at this point. My associates and I are not financial planners. We are business planners and developers. We help businesses, their owners and leaders, grow. And grow seriously! This means we focus on changing the processes, the capabilities of the leaders, the culture, the marketing and sales plans and we help execute all of it for the express purpose of increasing the “enterprise value.” In short, we execute on the things that represent the “real” value of your business – not just the financials. We focus on increasing the value of your biggest asset – your company. And the best financial planner out there can’t or doesn’t do that.

So, if you’d like to avoid “partnering” with the State of Texas at some unknown future date, here’s a quick outline of what you should be doing right now:

  1. Identify who you should be raising up (training) to take your place.
    • My 80-year-old client was bemoaning the fact that his “number one” wasn’t ready to take over because he didn’t know the financials. This, as he pointed out the stack of payables sitting on his desk waiting for his approval. The telling question here? “What are you doing to teach him the financials and how you’re managing them?”
  2. Identify what processes and procedures should be simplified, modified or otherwise quantified in order to make them duplicated by the newest employee in that department.
    • By not systematizing his accounting processes, my friend was also telegraphing that there were most likely many other areas in his company that had not been systematized.
  1. Identify your key client relationships and make sure the person in charge of that relationship has introduced into that relationship a protégé  (a “second,” so to speak). This is especially important if you are that lead person.
  2. Do this same thing for your key supplier and vendor relationships.

These are just a start – but they ARE a start! Here’s an analogy that captures this whole concept:

What if tomorrow morning, you received a call from a legitimate, trusted source and they told you that you, your spouse, and your entire family had just won an all expense paid vacation for three months to do an around the world tour? The catch? You have to leave by one week from today.

How would you organize your company in that one week so that you could confidently take the trip?

(Note – from a negative side, how are you going to tell your spouse that you can’t make the trip because you can’t leave the company for that long?)

Call me – let us help you get ready for the trip . . . we know how.

Dave