Succession planning is notoriously one of those things that tends to get put off and forgotten about – often until it’s too late to properly deal with it. Many of us don’t like to think about big changes in our future, and there’s so much to consider with succession planning. Plus, there’s always something that seems more urgent to take care of.
Despite that, succession planning – the process of passing a business or the family’s assets from generation to generation in a positive and effective way – is one of the most important tasks facing any landowner. It is crucial to the ongoing viability of a business, as well as to future family harmony. Fortunately, more support is now available, with the release of the new CLA advisory handbook on Succession Planning.
The handbook provides relevant and practical guidance to farming and landowning families who are making or reviewing their plans for succession. It has the detail you need to know while still being easy to digest without the need for prior specialist knowledge.
The first chapters introduce the concept of succession planning, set out the first steps on the process, and cover some of the initial considerations such as the needs and goals of each generation involved. It then addresses considerations specific to different types of business structure, relevant tax considerations, and the legal documents that may be needed, including partnership agreements, company documents, tenancies, wills, lasting powers of attorney and trusts. With the knowledge in this handbook, landowners will be equipped to start the process and understand what they need to do and the things they need to think about.
Of course, no handbook can be a substitute for bespoke advice, such as from your own solicitors, accountants and financial planners. The CLA’s Tax Team can assist you with personal succession planning advice, offered free of charge to CLA members. However, with the benefit of the information in this handbook, those conversations will be more productive.
Those advising landowning families will themselves also find the handbook helpful, as an overview of the key considerations across different disciplines and a handy reference for the tax and legal issues that arise in succession planning.
The best time to start thinking about succession planning is as soon as possible, since the earlier you begin, the more options are available, and the more time there is to prepare.