Family Succession Why you need to start planning now
No one wants to think about the day they have to take a step back and hand over their life’s work to the next generation. Many of us like to think we will keep going forever but unfortunately, that’s not quite the reality we face. The best thing you can do to make sure your legacy lasts is to take stock and think about succession planning for your family. At its heart, succession planning is having a common goal across the family. It keeps a family united and together knowing where they’re heading at the end of the day. Not starting the process is much more likely to create problems than starting the process. For those families who aren’t ready to take the plunge, it’s important to at least dip your toe in the water and see what it’s all about.
“The best thing you can do to make sure your legacy lasts is to take stock and think about succession planning for your family…”
At PVW Partners, communication with our clients surrounding succession planning is key. We understand the emotion that’s behind making those first moves to implement a succession plan and that’s why we have a staged process to our approach. In the first stage, you find out what’s in front of you, what’s likely to work and what’s not, and whether it’s going to suit you to take things forward. Our approach is to involve the key stakeholders in the family and work out where they want to go, what their values are, what their end goal is and then bring the whole family along for the ride over a period of time.
There’s a big communication element in this from the word go – we find out what those key stakeholders are looking for, where the situation is currently, and what the level of transparency throughout the family already is. From that, working out what’s important to the family going forward, what the values are and making sure that any plan brought into place really serves to allow that family to live those values successfully now and onwards into the future.
In our experience at PVW Partners, we don’t see many families who don’t benefit in some way from having transparency around their succession planning expectations. However, if families leave it too late, or fail to do it at all, then there are often times expectations between members of the family within the succession planning process aren’t met. Starting it early gives you an opportunity to make sure that those expectations don’t get out of hand.
We do understand that it is easy to think of succession planning as tomorrow’s problem.
Unfortunately, time marches on and there are many families who’ve simply left this too late. Our aim is to get people thinking about their future early so they can enter into a plan that works for the whole family. From our perspective, a lot of the success stories come from those two or three generation families all working happily together towards a goal over a five- or 10-year period and seeing that goal come to fruition. Where the first generation is financially independent and in a space that they want to be; the middle generation is also comfortable and starting to think about the generations to come.
Succession planning isn’t always synonymous with families and we see a lot of businesses purely looking to continue into the next iteration, as opposed to generation. PVW Partners can take a look at businesses, from small to medium sized enterprises and upwards, and evaluate the exit strategy for them in a way that they remain confident in the survival and prosperity of the business once they leave.
At the end of the day, succession planning comes down to getting the best outcome for your assets, along with the continuity, harmony and succession that flows from the process.