It seems that today many families, farms and small businesses deal with a wide range of professionals for advice on their accounting, legal, banking, financial and any other needs. The issue here is often a lack of communication between all the parties involved when it comes to your sale, succession, retirement or estate planning needs. My intent is not to knock this process, but to point out the potential shortcomings, as each business entity tends to focus on their skill set and any related products or services to implement the client’s need. So if there is no communication between them or someone to quarterback the process there could be the potential for conflicting advice and strategies.
Having now spent 20 years in this business, I have come to value and appreciate the other professionals that I have worked with to create a team approach to this process. We live in an ever more complicated world and one in which governments at all levels seem to have forgotten that they don’t create wealth, they take it from those of us that do and redistribute it, often not very efficiently. So today we have ever increasing tax grabs to cover off run-away spending accelerating the need for coordinated advice.
Adding to the above issues is the staggering amount of wealth that is going to change hands from the baby boom generation to their children. This brings forward the need for advanced planning to ensure the maximum amount passes on. With this multi-billion dollar transfer comes’ the real threat of ever increasing litigation, as baby boomer’s heirs squabble over any perceived inequality in the amounts received, or not received – in the case of any cut out of their parent’s wills.
My approach has been to partner up with other professionals, both with specialists in our industry and with legal and accounting firms to help design financial strategies that are in the best interest of our clients and their families.
One of the biggest challenges that families, small business owners and farms face today is that they put off starting the planning process as it entails some tough conversations and facing up to your eventual mortality. But with ever increasing farm land prices and company valuations, any delay starting into the planning process creates big problems for us professionals.
So I challenge those of you with out-of-date or no wills, to start rectifying this first, out of date wills are a ticking time bomb for small business and farm families with one or more children involved in the family business. Plus not having a will – can leave it up to the province to decide on the distribution of your assets, not the best outcome for the heirs involved. Please start into the process sooner rather than later, as sufficient planning time gives your team of professionals the breathing space to develop a customized solution for each family’s situation.
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