Business Succession Planning

Succession Planning


Business succession planning is complicated and should be undertaken in conjunction with your lawyer, accountant, financial adviser and you – the business owner. There are significant issues to be considered such as taxes (such as GST, CGT, duty), liability for debts, control of entities and business structuring to name a few.

At Danaher Legal we charge a reasonable fee for the service we offer and we pride ourselves on contributing to the success of you and your business while at the same time giving you peace of mind.

Below is a Business Succession Questionnaire. If you would like assistance with any part of your business or personal estate planning please call us to discuss.

What is a Business Will?

A Business Will is where the parties that own the business have a succession plan that deals with issues such as the death or incapacity of a key person within the business.

Why should you have one?
  • Most business owners will own their interest in a business in a structure such as a discretionary trust, unit trust, company, partnership or a combination of all these. This then means that their interest in the business will not necessarily form part of their estate, and as such, will not be dealt with by their will.
  • Family owned businesses have their own unique succession issues and may have a need for “extra-legal” solutions such as “family constitutions” or “family councils” or “advisory boards”. We can assist.
  • Upon the occurrence of a trigger event, either party can be left running the business with the Attorney or Executors of the person affected by death or incapacity. This obviously is not a desirable situation, and can be avoided with a Business Will.
  • A succession plan for your business can give certainty and reduce stress in an otherwise difficult time.
  • The Business Will can also incorporate details surrounding the operation of the business and what should happen if a particular party leaves.
  • Adequate insurance policies need to be maintained that assist a party to acquire the affected person’s interest in the business. Without these insurances, other owners may not be able to continue to operate the business, and the value of the business may be substantially affected.
  • Deals effectively with tax, debts and liabilities within the business.
What is included in a business succession plan?
  • Shareholder/Unit Holder/ Joint Venture Agreement that deals with:
    • Control and ownership of the business
    • Decisions of the business
    • Liability for debts and loans of the business
    • Distribution of capital and income of the business
  • Buy/Sell Agreement that deals with the buyout of a party.
  • Insurance for all aspects of the business and its operations. We can recommend a Danaher Legal partner skilled and authorised to advise on the different insurances available and how these are best utilised.
  • Having your personal estate planning in order. This includes Wills, Powers of Attorney and other Appropriate Mechanisms.
  • A review of your existing structure. This is generally conducted in conjunction with your accountant. If you do not have an accountant we can put you in touch with a Danaher Legal partner skilled in advising on such structures.
How Much Does it Cost to prepare a business succession plan?
  • It is difficult to provide a fixed fee on preparing or advising on a business succession plan as it depends on each individual business. Please note the hourly rate of Dennis Danaher the director of Danaher Legal is $350 per hour plus GST.
  • The fees charged by Danaher Legal will be commensurate with the work undertaken. Having reviewed your circumstances we will provide you with a fee estimate to complete the works prior to undertaking any work for you. It may be that some or all of the above is relevant in your circumstances and the fee will be adjusted accordingly.

Contact us now at Danaher Legal for more on Succession Planning