The fast pace of today’s world makes the life of successful people ever more exciting and challenging. Our years of experience mean we are well-equipped to help UK and international business people through all the key decision-making stages of their life. We pride ourselves in delivering practical and innovative advice to enable you to achieve your ambitions and protect your legacy.
Some of the key considerations for entrepreneurs include:
- Start thinking about succession planning as early as possible: A key aim of many entrepreneurs is to be able to pass their wealth on to the next generation. This is a complex and, at times, emotional, process and it is vital to have in place a well thought through plan. For example, it may be unwise to wait until all other scenarios have been exhausted before looking around for a third party buyer. The buy-in and understanding of those involved is critical to a successful transition.
- Consider the “foundations” or “building blocks”: It is often the case that putting a Will in place can be delayed as it is not on the top of a priority list. However, discussing the outlines of the estate plan and the terms of the Will helps plan for the “worse case” scenario and can be a foundation on which discussions about lifetime planning can take place. For example, when and how could the next generation get involved in the family business or receive inheritances and how much?
- Don’t forget about powers of attorney: It is crucial to have personal – and potentially business- powers of attorney in place in order to deal with a situation where there is incapacity. Again, planning for this and identifying the potential attorneys who would act in the event you lost capacity should be done sooner rather than later and can help protect business continuity.
- Ensure all your eggs are not in one basket: We often see that our clients have been phenomenally successful by concentrating their resources. This does, however, create risk if their and their family’s wealth are all dependent on the success of one venture. Some of this risk can be mitigated by corporate structure, e.g. ring-fencing individual business lines into separate companies, with a holding company over the top. Diversifying your wealth into a range of asset classes should also be considered. Different structures can be considered such as the use of trusts to hold assets including business interests and funds.
- There is more to protecting your wealth than minimising tax: There are a range of ways to minimise your tax liabilities, but this is just one of several considerations. Many such strategies entail giving up of control of assets and can be difficult to unwind if your situation changes. You also need to consider the ongoing cost of more sophisticated arrangements (e.g. professional fees). Not letting the tax tail wave the dog is key.
- You need to be aware of the risk divorces poses to your business: Many entrepreneurs are unaware of the full powers of the English Family Court when it comes to making financial orders on a divorce and the associated jeopardy to their business. This is especially the case when entrepreneurs start sharing the benefit of their businesses with their wider family. There are mechanisms that can be used to mitigate the risks in ways that can take the heat out of what can otherwise be very difficult conversations.
Across the world, we are trusted to support and guide our clients in:
- Tax and succession planning
- Family investment companies
- Trusts and estate planning
- Pre and post nuptial agreements
- Philanthropy, including setting up and running charities
- Resolving disputes and mitigating risk
- Investing in assets, from property to luxury commodities
Examples of our work include:
- Advising a leading international entrepreneur on his relocation to the UK, providing pre-immigration tax advice and structuring his investment portfolio to make provision for his children who were resident in four different jurisdictions.
- Advising a founder of a successful UK start-up business on the protection mechanisms available to preserve both business and personal assets for the long term.
- Advising an entrepreneur client who, while still in the prime of life, wanted to create a structure now to preserve his legacy. Our advice included the creation of a family office and trusts that treat the beneficiaries fairly whilst encouraging those not involved in the business to take responsibility for themselves.
- Advising a significant first-generation family business on reviewing its family governance and intergenerational succession plans, advising on the potential benefits of adopting a family charter and dealing with the associated asset and wealth protection options and strategies.
- Advising an entrepreneurial client who exited his business several years ago and required advise on the transfer of his shares to a family trust for his children.
- Advising a first-generation property entrepreneur on the creation of trusts to hold IHT relievable parts of the business, including removal of non-qualifying businesses from the group by way of demerger.
Our market leading experts are on hand to guide you through all stages of the business lifecycle on everything from to establishing to protecting a business.