Succession Planning: Turning Angst into Action, 1020 COBJ, Vol. 49, No. 9 Pg. 25

PositionVol. 49, 9 [Page 25]

49 Colo.Law. 25

Succession Planning: Turning Angst into Action

Vol. 49, No. 9 [Page 25]

Colorado Lawyer

October, 2020



Thinking about succession planning may provoke worry, confusion, and perhaps a desire to procrastinate. Creating a succession plan requires time, some thing in short supply for many lawyers. It requires thinking about one's own disability or mortality, thoughts that can provoke worry and dread. Often, lawyers don't know where to start, leading to bewilderment and delay. It's easy to put off planning to another day, another month, or another year. This article strives to make succession planning more accessible and manageable by providing tangible starting points.

The Case for Succession Planning

There are at least three significant reasons succession planning is crucial for all lawyers. First, there's the risk of prejudice to your clients were something unexpected to happen to you. A statute of limitations couldrun. Ahearingmight be missed. An upcoming trial or transaction could be delayed, or it could proceed with your client unprepared.

Second, consider the financial injury that may flow to clients, your estate, or other third parties if something happened to you and you have not been conscientious with bookkeeping. This is particularly important when it comes to funds in trust.

Third, consider the impact on your loved ones if you do not have a plan. Would they know where to begin if it fell to them to figure out what to do with physical files, computers you used in practice, or your practice's trust and operating accounts? Would they, for whatever reason, take steps that create potential liabilities for your estate as regards winding up your practice?

Don't saddle those you love with another burden at a time of loss and mourning.

Three Steps to Success

The good news is that if you take just a few steps, your practice can be easily wrapped up by another lawyer, with a smooth transition of files and return of funds. Further, these actions will help you have an efficient, well-run practice right now.

First, think about administrative nuts and bolts that are helpful to you now. These would be helpful to someone in your absence. Keep a current client list with updated contact information. Diligendy recorded deadlines should be kept in a place where someone could find them with simple instructions. Make sure those client text...

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