Succession planning – not just a family affair
  • 26th Nov 2015

At Whitehead Monckton, we get involved in advising individuals regarding their Wills and planning for the next generation on a regular basis particularly for family business owners.  We also help them to manage their affairs to make sure the future of their business is secure, if they die prematurely.

Owners of businesses can be very busy with their day jobs and so planning for their succession can be put off.  To help them, Whitehead Monckton’s team run informative seminars designed to highlight key issues and solutions in brief presentations.  We often run these in connection with accountants as the advice they offer is closely interlinked.

At a recent event, in conjunction with accountants Crowe Clarke Whitehill, we were introduced to David Fenn, Managing Director of the British Assessment Bureau.  Following discussions relating to his business assets and family circumstances and future wishes, Kerin Speedie, 

who heads up our Tax and Estate team, was able to help David with his succession planning.  Kerin prepared his Will and Lasting Power of Attorneys for both his personal affairs and his business.

David’s LPA’s have recently been completed.  Kerin is now advising his children, initially about their roles and responsibilities and then, their own Wills and succession planning. 

One of them is married with children so the next stage will be Wills for both her and her husband with the vital step of appointing Guardians for their children, plus LPA’s particularly as she is involved in the business.

Another child is unmarried but will soon be so, again a Will, we believe, is as important a part of the planning as the dress and the venue.

You may consider the above is good practice and applies to all families – unfortunately this is not the case. Latest statistics from Will Aid show that only 47% of adults in the UK have a Will, so 53% of the adult population run the risk of dying without a Will and therefore having their estate distributed in line with the intestacy rules and not necessarily their wishes.

Unfortunately one of David’s employees had recently died without their affairs being well organised.  This had a big impact on David and his family, providing the impetus to sort out their plans.

It also gave David the motivation to offer the same opportunity to his employees.

Kerin gave a presentation to staff about Wills and LPA’s, together with the opportunity for one to one meetings to discuss individual arrangements, enabling employees to undertake their own planning.  As a business owner this represents a valuable benefit for employees at minimal cost to the business in lost working time.  It also makes sound business sense to ensure employees in a small business have their affairs organised, helping to reduce the impact a sad loss of an employee can have on the team and the business.

From Whitehead Monckton’s viewpoint, we are delighted to be able to offer this service for businesses and their staff.  Organising affairs, improving tax efficiency for people’s estates and ensuring future planning for the business enables us to offer more complete advice to business owners.  It also enables businesses to continue to thrive, something relevant for our future too.

In David Fenn’s own words...

“I had an old Will in place but it was hopelessly out of date and like most business owners, getting it sorted always seemed to drop to the bottom of the pile. But every time I would go on holiday I’d be thinking the same thing... please don’t let anything happen to me, I still haven’t got things straight yet! It really did spoil my enjoyment. However, the sad and sudden loss of one of my team jolted me into action, and the realisation that such things can and do happen; and often without warning.

Now that I have my new Will sorted out it is like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders. No longer do I have ill-feelings when going on holiday... if fact, I’ve never been more relaxed. Getting my Will sorted out at long last made a huge difference to me, and it only affected me in a positive way!”

If you would like us to help you organise your succession planning be it for your family or your business, please contact Kerin Speedie:

Email: kerinspeedie@whitehead-monckton.co.uk