Of particular significance is, if you are partners in a practice or intend to be a partnership it is important to understand the implications of this and have a written agreement in place.
Dental partnerships are subject to the same risk of disputes between partners as any other business. However, it is claimed that dentists are far more likely than other types of healthcare professionals to be operating a partnership without a formal, written agreement.
Carrying on a partnership based on an informal, verbal agreement – even if your partners are trusted friends – runs the risk of greater financial loss and disruption if a dispute occurs, especially as there will be no clear way of settling such a dispute.
A partnership agreement cannot prevent a dispute breaking out but it will set out mechanisms for dealing with conflict and hopefully settle it more swiftly as a result.
Whatever your profession, if you are in partnership the duties and liabilities of the partners will either be governed by a formal written partnership agreement or, in the absence of this, the Partnership Act 1890. A partnership will exist if two or more individuals carry on business together with a view to making profit. A partnership can be created unintentionally and no documentation needs to be put in place therefore it is vital to get expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Your dental partnership agreement should be specifically tailored to your requirements on all issues including profit sharing, or what happens if a partner dies or retires from the practice, disputes and how to value a partner’s share of the partnership.
Every partner is an agent of the others which means that one partner can enter contracts or dispose of partnership property binding all of the partners. If a correctly-drafted dental partnership agreement is not in place it would be easy for one partner to put the practice into financial difficulty or carry out acts without the knowledge and consent of the other partners and the other partners would not be able to do anything about it.