Succession Planning Success, Part II

In my last column, I talked about the essential (but oftentimes forgotten) step one of succession planning. Let’s move on to steps two and three:

In the planning stage, you would ask lots of questions and endeavor to answer them in details. This is when you put the “who, what, where, and when” all down in black and white. The “who” will determine the people involved in the planning and action steps, both now and in the future. The “what” will provide answers for the continued mission and vision of the farm, and leads into the “where” for both now and after succession has taken place. The “when” will provide answers on at what point retirement of the current sole proprietor and succession of the next generation will take place.

The key to this step is making sure that both parties go through this process together.

This is the step when all the wheels are put in motion to begin the succession process. It is highly recommended that steps one and two be in place at least five years before the successor is officially brought on board.

It is essential to keep the plan fresh, and sometimes it’s necessary to go back to “analysis” (step one of the succession planning success) and make sure all stakeholders are on the same page so that the action phase does not break down.

If all steps are tread with care, then succession planning will only lead to success and the continued operation of the farm or ranch under the family name.



BIO: Steven Crisman is the managing partner of Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP’s (C/F/R) Winter Haven office and leads their Agriculture Practice Group. He primarily serves the agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution industries. He has specific experience with citrus growers, cattle ranchers, citrus and other horticultural nurseries, citrus harvesters and other support industries as well as watermelon, blueberry and other growers. In addition, Steve provides comprehensive tax and estate planning, attestation and business succession planning services.

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