Being smart about retirement

Elder law | Print Article

March 2017

If you’re looking forward to spending less time in your business and more on enjoying your life as you head towards retirement, then you’re not alone. Like many of our clients, you’re of the baby-boomer generation who have worked hard for decades to generate income and now want to sell your business or plan the transfer of it to business partners or to the succeeding generation while still retaining resources to pursue your dreams.

Whether retirement is imminent or still in the future, it is a good idea to start planning the kind of lifestyle you will want to lead in the future, and how you will scale down your commitment and working hours. Reviewing your own aspirations is important but there may also be other issues. Changes in legislation and in your own circumstances may warrant a reconsideration of the legal and accounting structures you currently have in place if a sale is to be optimised or the succession of your family business to family or business partners is to be achieved and your needs met.

In some cases our lives have changed through bereavement and sometimes a second marriage. Our children may have special needs or perhaps it now transpires they are not particularly good with money. There can be concerns about our children’s marriage or relationship partner and the prospect of claims against them as a result of their succession to our wealth. How to protect and fairly manage our assets can be a real test. Also delicate and stressful situations can arise if one or more of our children wish to take over the family business, and yet we are striving to treat all our children fairly.

If you have a Trust you need to review it. You need to ensure that the beneficiaries of the Trust are still appropriate. Also, even more important than who the Trustees are is the question of who can appoint the Trustees. Trusts should provide flexibility, but if you have particular wishes, you can set them out for the Trustees in a Memorandum of Wishes. While it is most likely that those wishes will not be legally binding on the Trustees, they will be strongly persuasive.

We should also have in place Enduring Powers of Attorney in respect of property and our personal care and welfare. If we lose our mental capacity as a result of an accident or medical event, then an Enduring Power of Attorney in respect of property can enable your business matters to continue smoothly and an Enduring Power of Attorney in respect of our personal care and welfare will ensure we are looked after by those we trust.

And last, but by no means least, you need to check your Will to make sure it is consistent with the ownership structures you have and your wishes. A timely review gives you the comfort of knowing your affairs are in the best possible order to provide for you and those you love.

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