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updated: 1/27/2014 7:45 AM

Business-owning Baby Boomers should keep some lists

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The last of the Baby Boomers will hit 50 this year, which means the first of that generation are nearing 70. No buckets are necessary, but if you're a Boomer who owns a business, there are some lists you should be keeping.

One, courtesy of Harry McCabe, focuses on business continuity. The other, from Carol Nevin, suggests factors to consider as you consider what's ahead -- where you might live and why, for instance.

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First McCabe. Although not legally binding, his single-page continuity instructions allow a business owner some input on how the business' ultimate transition could be handled.

"The form makes people think," says McCabe, ownership transference adviser at Harry McCabe Advisors, Westmont. "I tell clients to fill it out using a pencil that has an eraser at the other end."

That's a good idea. The form, for example, asks the business owner to check the appropriate box about what to do upon his, or her, death or incapacity: Sell the business to an outside third party; sell to specifically named employees; transfer ownership to specific family members; or liquidate.

The form also asks the owner to list "people (who) can be given responsibility to continue and supervise" such activities as business operations; financial decisions; and internal administration.

There's more, including a list of professional advisers; what the owner thinks might be an acceptable sales price if the business is put up for sale; and a list of those who perhaps have expressed interesting in buying.

Transition isn't a favorite business owner topic, but McCabe's approach is nonthreatening and likely worth a conversation.

Nevin's role concerns housing. A senior who is a senior real estate specialist (and Realtor) at Coldwell Banker Northbrook, Nevin has drawn upon both personal and professional experiences to develop living-and-lifestyle discussion materials Boomer entrepreneurs should review, perhaps with their children.

Her materials are "for people who want to know what the road ahead looks like," Nevin says. "Only about 20 percent of us make plans ahead."

Where, for example, might you live after you've shucked responsibility for the business? That decision could be influenced by where your power of attorney lives -- especially if you have no spouse or significant other who could advocate for you -- Nevin says in her latest paper, "The Unpredictable Road Ahead."

Similar considerations arise with people who make up your support system. "If there is an emergency, who would you call?" Nevin asks in a "Questions to Consider" treatise. "Could your spouse deal with (the emergency) or would you need other close family members?"

Because senior housing decisions sometimes are made in a crisis situation, Nevin suggests at least a modicum of planning. "What do I need to do now to reduce (the possibility of) chaos later?" she asks. True to form, Nevin also answers: "Getting acquainted with the housing options (wherever you plan to live) and getting your financial and life-planning papers in order" now will reduce problems later.

• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at his new email address, Jim@kendallcom.com 2014 Kendall Communications Inc.

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