Whether you are a sole trader, in partnership or are a shareholder of a family company, you should consider planning your succession.
Perhaps you have become part of the family business, or perhaps this is a business which you have created and nurtured from the beginning. Either way, it is very likely that it has taken hard work, determination and a significant investment of time and energy to grow and maintain your business. Timely succession planning is therefore essential to protect your position, family and business assets.
There are a number of issues which should be considered, some of which raise unique challenges and sometimes with conflicting goals. Achieving them all can often be a tall order and take careful planning.
When undertaking succession planning, questions to be considered include:
- Who is likely to ‘take the helm’ and move the business forward as and when you decide to retire and hand the business on?
- How would death or illness affect the business?
- If you have a business partner, what are their views to the questions above?
- How do you maintain the farm as a viable, economic unit capable of supporting the needs of multiple generations of your family?
- How do you treat your children fairly, balancing the needs and expectations of those in business with you now and in the future, and those who are not as involved?
- How can you ensure that the farm is retained by the family?
- How can you adequately protect the older generation during retirement, and what happens if one or more members of the family requires long term care?
These issues are particularly important for farming families where the business is often tied to family history, family relationships and intrinsically linked to your lifestyle. Often, succession planning involves hopes for future generations at a time when it is not yet certain who, if any of them, may want to farm.
There are unique issues to be faced here, particularly in balancing the expectations and needs of several generations against a changing legislative backdrop.
We pride ourselves on having acted for generations of farming families. We are skilled at viewing your business structure and family circumstances as a whole and can help you put measures in place which will allow you to adapt to the changing farming landscape.
Succession planning may include using tools such as Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Partnership Agreements and/or Shareholders’ Agreements as well as reviewing the way in which the farmland is occupied, say, with a view to securing a future succession to an Agricultural Tenancy.
Very often effective succession planning comes hand in hand with tax planning and our skilled team offer a wealth of experience with a personal touch – we understand that while tax and succession planning are vital, the solution must be practical and work with you and your business.
Our team can advise you on:
- Partnership Agreements
- Shareholders’ Agreements
- Agricultural Tenancies
- Share farming agreements/contract farming agreements