By Rohan Day, Partner, Armstrong Watson

ONE thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is the need to keep things in perspective and concentrate on the important things in life. This has meant that planning ahead to protect your family and your finances is increasingly important.

Ask yourself, ‘what would happen to your family or your business finances if the worst happened?’

This has been brought home to us all during the pandemic, and involves ill-health as well as death. We have seen a greater willingness from family business owners to engage in these difficult discussions in recent weeks. In some cases merely getting an issue out in the open makes everyone feel better, while in others it may be that an insurance or other investment solution is appropriate. Again the most important point is to take the first step and discuss the issues within the family. In too many cases business owners assume what other family members want in the future, but have not openly talked about them.

All businesses are different, so it is not possible to set out a blueprint, and getting the next generation involved in decision making is as important as who owns the assets. It’s also important to consider whether there any day-to-day tasks within the business that only one family member knows how to undertake? If so, these need to be documented or ideally other members made familiar with procedures, just in case the worst were to happen.

We have discussed in recent months the likely changes to Inheritance Tax, but whilst none us know what changes are going to take place, it’s safe to assume that rates of tax are not going to fall and reliefs are not going to be made more generous.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will be looking for ways to raise extra revenue to reduce his budget deficit. On 14 July it was announced that the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has been asked to carry out a review into CGT. This further promotes the case for undertaking succession planning sooner rather than later.

For help and assistance with forward planning for your family business please get in touch with Rohan Day on 0773 234 0859 or email