Succession Planning for your Business

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At Whitehead Monckton we pride ourselves on looking after our clients affairs as a whole, considering all aspects to provide bespoke and tailored Succession Planning advice.  This can mean taking into account the needs of family members, overseas and domicile issues, as well as looking at business interests, and how these are to be dealt with on death or mental incapacity. We often advise clients who have interests in family companies or partnerships, perhaps built up over many years, as a result of entrepreneurial vision and investment; or a family company which has been around for generations, and needs safeguarding for further generations to come.  What happens to this valuable – both in monetary and in  legacy terms  – asset can be a difficult issue to consider, and often puts people off making plans for the future, as it is too complex to resolve.  Whitehead Monckton will help you through the maze, with clear and specific advice, relevant to your particular circumstances.


Making a Will is a great step forward in your Succession Planning affairs, but it shouldn’t be looked at in isolation.  If you have business interests, then there are a number of further things to consider.  You may want to utilise trusts in your Will to safeguard assets for future generations, whilst at the same time mitigating inheritance tax.  Business property relief from inheritance tax may apply to your business interests at either 100% or 50% and it is important to ensure this valuable relief is not lost, and is considered in relation to your Succession Planning instructions. Are your children involved in the business? Perhaps you want to ensure you treat all your children equally, even if some are not shareholders, and there are steps you can take in your Will to achieve this.

Whether completing a Will for the first time or wanting to review an existing Will, one of the things we will need to do is understand your family circumstances and financial position.  We have developed a comprehensive online questionnaire designed to enable you to provide this information to us.  Please click on the button to get started online.


Business Advice

Also consider the constitution of your business, and whether amendments to this are required, depending on what you wish to do in your Will.   When was the last time you reviewed your memorandum and articles of association, shareholders agreement or partnership agreement?  We can assist you with these matters, whether you want to make  amendments, or generally reviewing and updating these important documents at the same time as completing your Succession Planning.  We strongly recommend that you take such steps to ensure that your business and private affairs complement each other and do not provide conflicting instructions, which can lead to your actual intentions not being implemented due to the lack of clarity. If you would like to speak to someone about this then please contact our Associate Director, Daniel Tozer.

Business Lasting Power of Attorney

What would happen to your business if you were mentally incapable of managing it yourself, either through ill health, an unfortunate accident or the onset of dementia?  In these circumstances, if you have not appointed someone as your attorney to deal with your business, then it could be left to an inexperienced family member to make decisions, and could lead to a leadership battle within the business.  Without a Business LPA in place, someone wishing to assist you with your business would have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your Deputy.  This, as with any court application, can be protracted and costly.  Meanwhile, your business affairs will be frozen whilst the application is being processed. This could cause significant problems to both the reputation and financial position of your business.

We have prepared a straightforward questionnaire to enable you to provide us with some of your details.  We can then incorporate this information into our plans and thus save time for you when we meet.

Wider issues

We do not provide this type of advice in isolation, but work closely with other professionals to ensure we are covering all aspects of your affairs.  You may already have an accountant and financial advisor, who we will be happy to liaise with and work together to advise you, or we can make recommendations of such professionals to assist you going forward.  For example, you may want a financial advisor to provide information on insurance products which may be relevant to you, such as business protection cover, key person protection or cross option insurance cover to provide cash to purchase shares of a deceased shareholder.  You may also need advice on your personal pension, or company pensions you provide to your employees.


When you consider your succession planning you need to look wider than just making a Will, and consider how the business will be affected by your death or mental incapacity.  There are many steps you can take at this time, to protect your business, which has possibly been your life’s work, and look after future generations of your family.  Always remember that Succession Planning is not a one off matter, it should always be reviewed, and revisited particularly when there are significant changes to your personal or business circumstances.  We offer the Legal Review Programme where we will proactively annually review your affairs and advise of any recommended changes.

As part of Whitehead Monckton, we have a long history of working for generations of families and their business interests, and we are looking forward to offering this service to you from our convenient offices at Canterbury, Maidstone and Tenterden. So please get in touch now to discuss Succession Planning for you and your business.


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