The secrets of succession

My wife and I are both 60 years old and operate our own farm.  We want to leave our land and business to our sons and have started to think about a Will. Is there anything else we need to do?

Well done on starting to organise your affairs. Organising a Will is a great start, however it sounds like you also need a succession strategy to make sure everyone is looked after properly.

A  Will can be part of your succession strategy however, when it comes to farms, there is usually more to consider.

A good succession strategy is vital to helping to ensure that your family’s succession process, whenever it may occur, happens in an orderly and timely way.

It helps to prevent urgent or rushed action driven by unexpected events such as death or divorce, and can be updated and passed on as your family changes and generations evolve in your farming practices.

To develop a succession strategy, the first step is to have open and honest communication between your family members. This can often be in the format of a family forum, which means that each family member’s desires and plans are heard and discussed.

These forums can be aided by a support person, such as a business adviser, to assist you in reaching an agreeable outcome for everyone.

Having your various advisors (accountant/legal/financial) working together on your plan is also important to help preserve your family wealth and avoid any unforeseen issues.

FUTURE PROOFING: Succession planning is a generational strategy which everyone in the family can work towards. That is 'the sum of the whole working together is greater than the sum of the parts added together'.

FUTURE PROOFING: Succession planning is a generational strategy which everyone in the family can work towards. That is 'the sum of the whole working together is greater than the sum of the parts added together'.

Topics commonly addressed in these discussions include how and when the farming business will be transferred; a division of assets (note fair is not always equal) and who will be involved in the operation of the farm now and in the future.

The aim is to achieve financial security for all concerned, particularly if you are intending to retire.

The key to remember with succession is that it develops a strategy that all generations are working towards.

For more information on this topic or ask a question please e-mail me at Albury@crowehorwath.com.au .

Any information in this article has been prepared without taking into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before acting on any material. While reasonable care is taken in the preparation of this information to the extent allowed by legislation, Crowe Horwath (Aust) Pty Ltd ABN 84 006 466 351, accepts no liability whatsoever for reliance on it.

The aim is to achieve financial security.

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