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Small businesses, the backbone of American employment, often run by the slimmest of margins. I’m not talking about profit margins. I’m referring to the owner or one of the owners being just a heart attack away from leaving their family with the business or a partner trying to figure out how to buy the deceased partner’s family out of the business.

In either case, business insurance in the form of key man or buy/sell life insurance can save the company and your family the strain of trying to figure out what to do with their inherited new career.

There are so many unprotected partnerships out there that it boggles the mind. How would you like to have your partner replaced by one of his family members tomorrow? If you can’t afford to buy out the partner’s portion of the business, the family has a right to do what they need to do to replace the lost income. You could end up with someone “helping” you run the business that doesn’t have the slightest clue what to do.

If you are a sole proprietor, carrying life insurance to replace the lost income and carry the business until it is closed down, sold or turned over is critical. In the absence of that protection, your family will not only lose the income, but likely lose the business along with it. Rare is the small business that can be successfully taken over by your wife or another family member.

Bottom line. Ensuring the succession of your business with life insurance makes great sense and in most cases the cost is very low. Compared to the alternative it is always low.