engage with an objective Advisor.
» The parents should engage a professional lead Advisor to facilitate the family’s succession project.
» The Advisor should be someone who understands family farming, can weigh up all the issues, and make rational decisions.
» The Advisor should be someone with succession experience who is able to establish relationships of trust with every family member.
» The Advisor must be able to develop productive working relationships with the lawyers, accountants, bankers and other parties connected to the succession project.
» The Advisor must be prepared to listen and learn from the family and their unique circumstances.
The Advisor is likely to be a professional Farm Advisor with significant experience in farm succession.
Taking on outside guidance will help ensure that the process is as successful as possible for the family. While a ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos is at the core of New Zealand agriculture, succession is best undertaken with the objective advice of professionals. Typically this might cost $30,000 in consultancy fees. Spreading this cost over a full generation of farming and in the context of the value of the business and family relationships at stake, this is a prudent investment. The cost of failure can be high.
When an objective and independent Farm Advisor guides the process and presents everyone else’s opinions and aspirations, each family member should better understand what the others think. Done effectively this style of moderation ought to deepen the trust and respect they have for each other.
New Zealand has a large number of professional rural advisors with experience in guiding families through succession. Parents should use their contacts to find the most respected advisors in their region, engage them and follow their advice to get the succession process running.