You worked hard your entire life to build your medical practice, and now you’re ready to enjoy retirement. Regardless of whether you choose to sell your practice or gradually wind it down over a period of time, you must take certain legal steps before you can leave.
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Explore This IssueNovember 2015
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Deciding to Retire & Making a Plan
Once you decide to retire, it’s critical to inform your team of advisors—including your attorney, accountant, insurance agent and financial planner—of your decision. Provide your advisors with as much time as possible in advance of your planned retirement to ensure that each one has sufficient time to take the necessary steps to assist you in closing the practice. If you are selling your practice, it’s best to allow additional time for contract negotiation with the prospective buyer. In addition, you will need to introduce your advisors to each other so they can coordinate efforts. It’s important to delegate one advisor as the “team lead.” This individual should be the one most involved with closing your practice and will usually be an attorney or accountant. This person can help you develop a checklist with corresponding due dates for steps to be completed. These steps and recommendations for timeframes for completion are discussed below.
A written custodial arrangement should be signed by the custodian who agrees to retain & store your records. This can be a physician, non-physician or document-management company.
Timeframe: Complete as part of your initial decision to retire
As part of your decision to retire, you should review your existing service and vendor contracts, including managed care participation agreements, for specific termination and notice requirements. In addition, it’s critical that you review your employees’ employment agreements. Typically, an employment agreement will address the grounds for termination and notification requirements of your intent to terminate. It will set forth the allowable reasons for termination and any restrictions on termination rights. The agreement should also include the proper method to provide notice of termination, such as first-class mail, overnight courier or hand delivery. The amount of advance notice you must give to the employee prior to closing your practice will factor into the timing of your decision. Although the notice provisions set forth the minimum amount of notice you must give, your specific circumstances may necessitate providing more notice to stay on good terms with your current staff by giving them enough time to handle the transition and find new work.