establish a decision-making team.
» The Advisor should help the family pull together a team encompassing different disciplines and expertise.
» The team should include the farm owners, appropriate family members and professional advisers including lawyers, accountants and bankers.
» The team has the family’s nominated Advisor (described above) as its leader.
» The team will provide advice through the nominated Advisor
» Decisions ultimately rest with the parents.
It is the Advisor’s role to map out the succession project and to use their contacts to pull a strong team together. They will decide where and how often the team meets throughout the succession process. They will facilitate those meetings and publish the outputs and recommendations of the meetings to those concerned.
The key members of the team are the parents and the succeeding child. Other members of the team are likely to be a lawyer, an accountant and a banker.
Aside from the professional specialists, input might also be welcome in this forum from trusted family friends and farming neighbours.
Each member of this team needs to have a clearly defined role and a good understanding of where they fit in relation to the other team members.
The child who is likely to inherit the farm should be involved in this decision-making team as the team is deciding their economic future. Where relevant and possible, non-succeeding siblings might also be included.
Formal meeting times and structures are likely to be beneficial to assist in conducting and completing the team’s business efficiently. The lead Advisor has the responsibility to put these processes in place.
Ultimately, all decisions rest with the farm owners, which means the rest of the team is simply there to contribute to the development of the team’s advice.
Other family members will be asked to abide by the decisions reached by the team. A well understood and tightly run process will help ensure that all family members have confidence in the decisions reached. The team leader, the Advisor, should take responsibility for regular communication between the decision making team and the wider family.