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Succession do’s and don’ts: ‘Planning is the responsibility of all family members’

Succession planning is the responsibility of all family members and all it takes is for one person to have the courage speak up, according to Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates.

Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates.
Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates.
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Succession do’s and don’ts: ‘Succession planning is the responsibility of all family members’

Fear of conflict and arguments is probably the biggest reason why people avoid succession planning – as well as not knowing where to start or hearing too many horror stories about where things have gone wrong.

 

But succession is the responsibility of all family members and all it takes is for one person to have the courage speak up, according to Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates.

 

“Who has the responsibility for the succession plan?” she said. “It takes a lot of effort, time and resources and there is no quick fix.

 

“Some may say it is the job of the head of the farm. But what if they are unwilling to bring it up? A succession plan is the responsibility of all members of the farming family.


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“Someone has to start the conversation – why not you?”

 

Ms Wildman suggested speaking to friends, accountants and lawyers for advice, as well as reading articles, attending seminars and looking at research websites.

 

“Become educated about succession planning so that you are an active participant in the planning process,” she said.

 

Her dos and don’ts:

 

Do:

  • Start planning now – the earlier the planning begins, the greater the number of options;
  • Figure out individual, family and business goals;
  • Ensure good communication among family members about plans, strategies and issues;
  • Brainstorm all of the options.

Don’t:

  • Procrastinate – there is never a right or a good time, so start the process now;
  • Be afraid to ask questions – or listen to the answer;
  • Assume you know what others are thinking or what they want to achieve;
  • Be afraid to share responsibilities.
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