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Succession planning, where assets can be successfully transferred from one generation to the next, is a complex procedure. Consequently it is too often thought of as primarily a legal exercise, while individual needs and expectations within the family are overlooked. This can result in disaster for family relationships and the eventual unsatisfactory and heart-breaking dispersal of the family farm.
This one hour webinar will discuss how practitioners who advise rural families can help guide clients through a managed process of communication, planning and good structuring to a fair and successful outcome; one acceptable to all family members and avoiding unnecessary accounting and legal costs.
Succession planning is not a “one size fits all” matter so, using a practical case study, presenters will consider conceptual issues to be taken into account. These are, profitability/financing, communication, timing, taxation and structuring.
Family farming has long been held as the corner stone of the New Zealand agricultural system. However for this to continue the farming business must be able to successfully transfer its assets from one generation to the next. In recent times, as part of this process, society has been more inclined to expect that all members of the family will be treated “fairly”. This issue has become more pronounced with rising capital land values and unmatched increases in productive returns.
It is considered by some that it is becoming increasingly difficult to successfully transfer farming businesses between generations. However there are families which are managing this process well and successfully assisting their sons and/or daughters into the farming industry. Accordingly, if appropriately managed, a fair and successful outcome can be achieved in most instances.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the attributes that these families exhibit which has enabled them to manage this process, and the implications that the different ownership structures will place on the process and the parties involved.
When managed well farm succession can result in a strong family unit where all parties view the process as being fair and equitable. However when the process is not managed well it can cause rifts within a family which will inhibit relationships for years to come. Often in these situations the parties end up fighting over issues which could have been avoided through communication, planning and good structuring, and in the process incur significant accounting and legal costs.
“One size does not fit all” is a saying that effectively summarises this issue. Within this presentation we intend to focus on the conceptual issues that you need to take into account when working through farm succession planning with clients.
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Author: Mark von Dadelszen
Authors: Ross Carter, Jason McHerron