NI businesses 'should seek advice' on succession

A succession plan is essential when a parent wishes to split a family business between heirs, reports Karen E Klein in the LA Times.

Northern Ireland firms should consider Ms Klein's claims that when two siblings have contributed equally to the running or development of the business then a plan should make them equal partners.

According to Ms Klein, discussing the situation with solicitors is essential to ensure that a plan is sufficient to allow both parties to receive an equal share in the firm.

She also recommends in the LA Times that communication with potential heirs is vital and adds that business owners should consult them on their preferred role within the company.

Business psychologist at consulting firm RHR International Constance Dierickx told Ms Klein that as long as they are put on an equal footing in terms of seniority, both heirs do not have to have the same role.

Drew Nesbitt, from business services at Northern Ireland law firm Wilson Nesbitt, says that a lack of disruption during business transfers can help maintain a firm's efficiency.

He comments: "Smooth succession leads to increased profitability in any business.

"When considering business succession an owner/manager should ensure specific provisions are added to their will and any partnership or shareholders' agreement."

According to family business advisor Craig E Aronoff writing in Letting Go: Preparing Yourself to Relinquish Control of the Family Business, the most difficult aspect of passing on a family firm is "letting go gracefully".

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