Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS, PC
Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry
May 5, 2005 Dr. Earl Douglas PPC, Ltd.
I just returned the updated information request needed for your company to keep my practice appraisal current. As you know the complete listing of my equipment, instruments, and contents necessary has not been completed yet, but is in progress. To update you, I am in the process of building a new office in the Georgia-Pacific Center a short distance from my current location. This decision was reached after considering the problem attendant my current leases. As you may recall, when you reviewed my current lease you discovered a forgotten requirement that required a personal guarantee on the performance of the lease, and we discussed the problems that might pose should you need to sell my practice and provide for a seamless transition.
The purpose of this letter is to express appreciation for your help in my estate planning. Having the goal of protecting and preserving the asset of my practice for my family, and providing security for my patients as well as my long-term staff members, was something I realized was important. The time never seemed to be there, the timing was never right, it never was convenient to do this and I procrastinated. Then something happened last year that drove home the realization of its import. A colleague of mine, Dr. John MacNamara, an oral surgeon in Buckhead, was diagnosed with inoperable and terminal prostate cancer in the fall of 2004. Upon visiting John at his home, I saw him having to spend precious energy and time focusing on coordinating, or tying to coordinate the sale of his practice in the middle of a serious illness. It was apparent that the kindest thing I might ever do for myself, even though it forces one to face his or her own mortality, was the enlist the help of someone like yourself in this process.
Our friendship for the last 25 years made it easy to select you, and I was glad to have your help. You may not know, however, that there was tremendous benefit in your appraisal, apart from the obvious. Your evaluation led to the following:
- The examination of my lease led to the discovery of a personal guarantee that was inappropriate and unnecessary. The unwillingness of the landlord to renegotiate this provision led to my locating a different location in a better building that will benefit practice growth.
- The examination of my practice in the business models used to determine actual worth was beneficial to improve the current margin of profit.
- The evaluation of the existing equipment in service led to the discovery of old equipment that had been fully depreciated, discarded, but had not been removed for The asset category in the corporation. This led to the lowering of my ad valorem tax liability due to Fulton Co.
- The goal of keeping the appraisal current requires one to develop the habit of gathering data in a fashion that forces a useful annual reassessment of key business indicators.
- Initiating and maintaining a current appraisal has led to a great sense of comfort and peace. Losing both of my parents in the last ten months has been a tough thing to experience, but I saw as a family member how that was made easier by the wise decisions of my mother. Her preparations and considerate planning were a marvelous gift to her family. We as business owners certainly owe the same to our loved ones.
I saw that you recently were going to speak in New Orleans and wanted to get this to you in advance of that meeting. Many times I picked up your well-organized package of information and began to gather all the information you require. And many times after feeling overwhelmed I promptly put it all down. It was only when I put this process in the category "business planning" rather than "pre-death planning" that it got accomplished. There are certainly other benefits of a practice appraisal I have probably forgotten. Having a trusted friend with the benefit of a longer history and more detailed understanding of not only the hard assets but the intangibles of a business certainly would lead to a more rapid sale, which in turn would lead to more profit for the loved ones of the practitioner.
Feel free to share this letter with anyone you think would benefit from my perspective.