Whether it’s succession planning for a business, or personal planning for the lifestyle you want, Mogers Drewett experts have you covered
Anyone starting a business knows the importance of a robust financial plan: it’s both a roadmap and a constant reminder of your goals. Similarly smart, succinct planning is useful in other aspects of our lives too – and really comes into its own when the time comes to extract yourself from your business. To find out more, we caught up with Mogers Drewett experts in personal financial planning, company succession planning, and wills.
For Stuart Doughty, Director at Mogers Drewett Financial Planning, initial conversations with clients almost always end with one simple question: do you have enough protection? “I liken it to walking,” Stuart says, “and savings to running. Most people want to go straight to running; they want to talk about their income, medical insurance, pensions. And I say, whoa. First, let’s talk about what happens if you can’t work. Who pays for everything then?”
It’s a good point.
“To my mind, it’s much better to have suitable protections in place than savings raking in, especially in the first instance. I understand why people want to skip past it – they consider this ‘dead money’, in that there’s no chance of getting it back – but actually, it’s crucial. We insure our cars and homes, but forget to insure ourselves. And the protections I’m talking about can be achieved quite cheaply, too.”
Then there’s succession planning, a more corporate affair, but one requiring you to make a number of similar – and similarly important – decisions. “You have to think about what it is you want to achieve,” says Emily Eccles, Senior Associate Solicitor. “Do you want to pass on the business in your lifetime to the next generation or to key individuals? Or do you want to sell to a third party? Once you are clear about this you can put the right structures in place to increase the chances of a successful and straightforward transition.”
The key is to understand the options available to you, seek advice throughout the development and growth of your business, plan for the outcome you want and be strategic. Emily says. “Too often, succession doesn’t get thought about until something happens. As ever, it’s better to be proactive, and address the future at an early opportunity, rather than being forced to react in an emergency. What everyone wants is a smooth transition in a tax efficient manner.”
Wills and LPAs
“You can only have one will,” says Rebecca Beresford, Mogers Drewett partner and Private Client Head of Department, “whether it’s covering just a few personal assets, or significant business assets. If the majority of the value of your estate is in a business that you wish to pass on intact, how are you going to provide for other beneficiaries? One way might be to take out insurance policies that provide a lump sum for individuals not involved in the business.”
What you decide may well depend upon the nature of the business. Farms, for instance, are often capital-rich, but haven’t built up much income; other businesses may have more liquid capital involved. There are valuable Inheritance Tax reliefs available for businesses and Will trusts can be useful in ensuring that that relief is captured at the earliest possible time, and preserved to benefit both the family and the business. It is important to strike the right balance between these elements, as Rebecca says “much of what we do as a team involves the effective capturing of tax allowances, but it’s also about trying to achieve ultimate fairness for all involved.”