This week we hosted a joint seminar with Clarke Willmott Solicitors, Hazelwood’s Accountants and NFU focusing on farm succession at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.

The night was enjoyed by approximately 70 local farmers and landowners where they had the opportunity to discuss the detail of planning succession with a panel of experts.

We heard from the experiences of local farmer James Appleby whose top tip was to ensure the business could support new generations and partners, either through growth or diversified projects, such as his own Spot Loggins ice cream business.

Andrew Troughton of Carver Knowles gave a brief outline of what succession is and what needs to be considered including the key questions;

  • What does Succession Mean?
  • What Assets need to be considered when planning for succession?
  • Why bother with Succession Planning?
  • How important is it to retain the viable business between two generations?
  • When should succession be addressed by the business?
  • And how does one start the discussion on succession?

In answering these questions, Andrew talked about the importance of handing the business over to the next generation and when to do so. “Planning for succession will allow for a gradual hand over between generations that should prevent disruption to the business”.

Sam Bettridge, Finance advisor for NFU Mutual, provided advice to the audience on the range of products available from the NFU to provide an income in retirement as well as looking after the capital for future generations. Sam confirmed it’s never too late to start with a pension of some type and be sure to get the right product for you as each person has their own desires in their retirement.

We then had views on tax planning both in lifetime transfers and on death. David Maddock of Clark Willmott discussed the luxury of time and options when planning business succession for life time planning, occasionally a transfer which attracts Capital Gains tax may be the lesser of the two evils when compared to Inheritance Tax. An early discussion saves confusion and upset down the line and allows the next generation to be proactive with their business ideas and development.

Nicholas Smail of Hazlewoods discussed the complexities of the reliefs available for Inheritance Tax and the planning that can be undertaken to minimise the burden on the next generation. The difficulties with identifying whether a farmhouse is a farmhouse and whether let cottages are business property assets are key parts of achieving these reliefs and business structures can be adjusted to ensure the reliefs are maximised.

The key advice was not to get to drawn into the legal and tax implications at the start but instead start the ball rolling with an open family discussion which can often be the hardest hurdle. If you would like an impartial adviser to sit in the initial meeting or obtain everyone’s views in confidence and prepare a plan, we can help. Whether you need to ensure the remaining business is viable and need farm budgets or if property valuations are required to ensure siblings are being treated equally then Carver Knowles can help. We can also work with legal and financial advisers to ensure all actions are tax efficient.