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Will Power

What would you do if you suddenly inherited a business?

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This story appears in the September 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After a colleague died of a stroke at age 32, Thomas Leonard was seized by panic. He was only in his 40s, but he was single and childless, and heart disease ran in his family. Calling his best friend, Dave Buck, Leonard asked, "If anything happens, what would happen to CoachVille?" He was speaking of his business, an online hub with everything from industry news to online classes for personal-growth coaches. Buck was a coach and was familiar with CoachVille, so Leonard asked if Buck would take over the company, should Leonard die prematurely.

"Of course-but don't die!" exclaimed Buck. The next day, he was in possession of Leonard's will. Buck stuffed it in a filing cabinet, believing he'd never use it. And there it remained for almost two years.

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