At Smith Shearer, Farm Succession Planning is our Speciality.
Succession planning is about paving the yellow brick road for the next generation into the family farm business.
It doesn’t mean transferring assets now, rather, it’s about starting to plan the farm business for the future so that the older generation can start to think about what their retirement might entail and what sort of retirement funding this future would require. It’s also a blueprint for the younger generation, giving them a sense of direction and security in their farming future.
Farm succession planning can be daunting; whilst there are any number of specialists providing guidance on the legal, financial and tax issues that come into play, these are often outweighed by the emotional weight of these tough and often confronting decisions. It can be difficult to think about moving on from the farm, losing a sense of control and purpose, and trying to ensure that the farm is financially viable whilst planning for a comfortable retirement. Often, there are issues surrounding sibling fairness, and considerations to be made about the wants and desires of the kids – particularly for those who aren’t considering following the family footsteps into the farming business. Time-and-time again we have had Mum and Dad say to us, “I’m not ready to think about it yet,” or “I just want to keep doing what I’m doing for now”, and we understand this mindset, however, as your Business Advisor and Accounting Firm, we can’t overemphasise the importance of putting a farm succession plan in to place in the here-and-now.
Firstly, there are significant concessions that might be available to you in regards to income tax, capital gains tax and transfer duty, however, consideration of timing is vital. Your farm succession plan needs to consider the intricate and complex nuances of your business structure, and sometimes the structure needs to be built over the course of a few years, so its important to begin this process now. Secondly, succession planning involves a network of advisors including Smith Shearer – as your facilitator and business advisor – and also your farm consultant, bank manager and solicitor. Farm succession planning enables your advisors to work together to help you to achieve your immediate short-term goals, whilst keeping in mind the bigger picture.
Smith Shearer's aim is to simplify the process of succession planning for farming families who have perhaps been avoiding thinking about it, or putting any concrete structure into play; even if we can encourage you just to begin thinking about the future, it will help us to plan and create goals surrounding your business. We encourage you to take the time to consider, “who will be doing this in ten / twenty / thirty years’ time?” If it’s important to you to make sure that the family farm or family business stays in the family, then it’s time to start thinking about your farm succession plan.
Are you ready to start planning for the future of the family farm?