Selling Dental Practice After Death or Disability of Practice Owner

Too often, as professional transitions consultants and brokers, we are called to facilitate the transfer of a dental practice under less-than-happy or ideal circumstances. Further, these circumstances dictate the necessity for prompt action and quick decisions.

Our experience shows us that most dentists have not carefully planned for the unexpected circumstances of death or disability. Instead, they are either faced with or leave estates with the responsibility of dealing with the complexities of selling a dental practice.

With careful planning, many of the issues can be addressed in advance. If we think of it like a patient re-care or preventative program, the dentist can have a plan in place so that the disposition of the practice will be automatically handled by professionals in the event of sudden death or permanent disability.

The critical period for selling the dental practice, especially in the case of death, is usually 30 to 45 days. A sale of the practice in this time frame will result in the estate recovering the highest value for the practice as goodwill and patient retention will be high. Typically, during this period, the surviving spouse or estate representative is often involved with other family issues and grieving. While others may become involved with trying to help the estate with respect to the dental practice, most of them are normally not familiar with or well versed in practice valuation or sales. After that initial period, the practice overhead continues to add up as the practice still employs staff and owes rent just to preserve the practice.

Pre-planning for the possibility of the death or disability of the practice owner, however, can provide an immediate resource to the spouse, family and estate. A professional practice broker can assist by having a plan in place to manage the selling of the dental practice in a prompt, skilled manner.

This plan provides for determination of the Fair Market Value of the practice in conjunction with a marketing strategy and plan for selling the dental practice. The broker can qualify prospective purchasers and obtain financing for the transaction. The broker can also coordinate negotiations between the respective attorneys by providing appropriate purchase agreements and other necessary documents while also assisting both the estate and purchaser with lists of items that need to be completed.

If you, as the practice owner, currently do not have a written transition plan in the event of your death or disability, talk to an experienced Henry Schein transition specialist who will help you prepare your dental practice transition plan.


Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions, Inc. is a national leader in dental practice transitions. A subsidiary of Henry Schein, Inc. they provide expert guidance for selling and buying dental practices, dental practice fees and management, assessing partnership and associate-ship opportunities, and performing dental practice appraisals and valuations.