Over the past two weeks I have met with two widows to discuss their economic future. Within 2 days of each other men I had known recently and long term died suddenly. The two men were both about the same age; 59 and 61. Both men were successful in business. Both men were passionate about their forms of recreation, love of family and enjoying life. In fact both had significant accidents, one in his car and one on his bike. One lived another 12 years disabled, retired and with a different perspective on work, life and family. The other died almost instantly.
The fact is that I have known the one whose accident happened 12 years ago and spent time with him each year. These times gave me understanding of the physical and emotional pain and suffering he endured and how much his life changed from the high flying times in business.
The second man was introduced to me about two months ago, we had not yet met and all I know of him I have learned from those who knew him and loved him. He was well known in business and had lived life well.
Both widows are reeling from the grief of the sudden loss of their husbands and life partners. Their long term marriages were solid and yielded wonderful children and some grandchildren. Both have concerns about the choices to make and are still deep in grieving for their loss.
The two men had made some preparations in life and business, but neither had a written exit plan that could be carried out after weighing what would be best for in all aspects of their estate, business and funding their spouses future. This was not due to lack of consideration on both of their parts, but in reality their plans were only partially conceived and implemented.
This plight of the widows has impressed me again how important planning your exit from business and life is really too often delayed. The women will survive but in both cases there are decisions that they have to make and are not sure what to do.
Both women are incredibly strong, purposeful and wise. They will find their way through the maze of decisions about business sales, assets to liquidate, future needs and how to live within their resources.
Both would tell you they wish Exit plans had been in place to make this easier on them, particularly while they are consumed by the loss of their husbands.
Don’t delay, engage in planning the Exit from your business now, finalize your will, talk about your wishes and introduce the key advisors to one another. Consider the options, choose the best path and set the plans in motion so that your spouse will not be stuck with choosing without you!
If you own a business and don’t know what step to take next….call me.