Whether you are disabled now or are at risk to become disabled in the near future, it is imperative that you teach your family how your dental business runs. We have been shocked how many times that a spouse approaches us with absolutely no idea how a dental practice runs.  They are clueless on billing issues and don’t know where to start. Being lost in the middle of crisis is unacceptable. There is a solution to this problem.

When you are lying in an intensive care unit or are too weak to stand up, you will be of little useful help to your husband or wife.  You may succeed in a crash course on the basics of dental practice, but do you really want to take the risk now?  We suggest that you prepare a written practice overview even if your spouse works with you in the practice. Your spouse needs to be acquainted with how the operation works. Start now with frequent visits to your office with tours by your office staff and manager.  It is especially important they understand the billing cycle/process in detail.

Make sure you give your family passwords for computer programs, keys to your safes, keys to your office, bank deposit information and signature control over your business accounts (power of attorney).  Introduce your spouse and grown children to your banker, financial advisors, and business associates.  Your spouse needs to know your staff.  They must establish a working relationship with your staff now.  It is important to designate who will run your practice in your absence. Include your spouse in meetings with your accountant, financial advisors, insurance agents, and lenders/bankers.  In your office disability contingency plan you will need to spell out what role your advisors will play if something happens to you.

Decisions will need to be made. Who will run your practice? Who will staff your office? Who will have control over YOUR money and pay the bills? Who will make the day-to-day business decisions? It is obviously much easier to make sure your family is prepared now when things are normal than what until a crisis happens. This is easier said than done, but the likelihood that you will initially be of very limited help when sick or recovering from a serve injury is very high.  This is a very critical topic, and we cannot stress enough its importance.  The chance that very poor decisions will be made in your absence is exponentially higher if your family has not been prepared with this vital knowledge in advance.

There are many other additional topics to consider in protecting your family.  We will be discussing many of them in our future posts. Taking the time to make a disability plan is truly the greatest gift of love you can give to your family prior to your date with disaster. While we know a few of you will avoid these suggestions. Understand the huge risk you are taking. Have your spouse and family research the topic if they are reluctant to become involved.  As a minimum, devote at least one staff meeting a year to discuss a disability contingency plan. Invite your spouse to attend. You will be glad you did. DON’T LEAVE YOUR SUCCESS TO CHANCE.

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