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a blog by Chris Barrow

Planning for the end of a partnership

Today I facilitated a meeting between two dentists who are considering a business partnership.

My opening comment was:

“Have you agreed what the actions will be in the event of the 3D’s?”

Of course, that produced a couple of quizzical looks and a request for an explanation.

So what are the 3D’s?




It’s all well and good getting excited about the business opportunity – and I’m not trying to be cynical BUT

I have witnessed the wars that can occur when the 3D’s are not addressed – lawyers get rich.

Death – do you really want to be in business with your deceased partners, ex-wife’s next husband?

Disability – I recall many years ago, two happy fellows in business together, until one of them fell off a cliff whilst fell walking and became a paraplegic. All well and good until the “survivor” ended up in business with an embittered wife whose glamorous lifestyle had become that of a full-time carer.

Differences – you are not “the same”. You are simple treading the same pathway for a short while – but inexorably, the differences between you will manifest themselves. You WILL drift apart.


I’m not in favour of complex legal drafts.

I am in favour of a simple exchange of letters that witnesses the steps to be taken if, God forbid, any of the 3D’s occur.

When that’s done – we can get on with the exciting bit.

Which is what we did.

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