Succession Planning: A will for your business

Succession Planning: A will for your business - people at a table working out their plans for the futureThe unfortunate reality is most business owners don’t take proper holidays. Usually this is because their business relies on them and they don’t have the support to keep the business running without them.

As a business owner, have you ever considered what would happen to the business if you had to take a six months break because of a serious illness or injury?

Would the business survive? How would the bills get paid? And while it might not be nice to think about, if you were to die, are you sure your business partners would give your loved ones a fair deal? For these reasons, and many more, it’s important for all business owners to have a detailed succession plan. A succession plan is like a will, but for a business. Although there are often a wider range of scenarios and options to consider.

Just like your will, a good business succession plan can vary from one business to the next. But there are some key areas that you should always consider in succession planning, which you can find below. Chat to us if you want advice on future-proofing your business.

Business Structure

In the event of death or retirement, the ownership and control of the business may need to be transferred to the owner’s family or to the surviving business partners. How easily this occurs will often depend on how the business operates, such as through a trust, or a company, or without a separate entity at all.

Succession agreements

If something happened to one of the business partners, would their spouse or children take over that share of the business? If the answer is no, then a succession agreement can assist the other business partners to continue business operations whilst allowing for compensation for the former partner’s family.

Managing risk

Just like personal insurance, business insurance can provide a range of protections. For example, temporarily meeting the normal costs of running the business (business expenses cover). Or paying for a short-term replacement manager (eg. trauma or disability cover). A life insurance policy linked to the succession agreement that provides the deceased partner’s family with suitable compensation for the transfer of business ownership to the surviving partners may also be a good idea.

Powers of Attorney

Most small businesses struggle to do much without the advice and authority of the figurehead or main key decision-maker. That’s why a Power of Attorney is integral to a good succession planning process. It helps the business to physically operate if the owner is incapacitated because of illness or injury.

There is a range of people who may need to be involved in succession planning. These include a financial adviser, lawyer and accountant. We can help you find the right team for you.
Even if you have a plan in place already, it is important to review agreements and insurance policies occasionally. You need to keep them up to date and reflecting the current value of the business.

Need help with succession planning?

Chat to us to get started. We’re here to help you run a successful business and protect your assets, now and in the future.