It will seldom be sufficient to simply knock out a Will on a rough piece of paper (or even a preform or internet version of a Will), sign it in front of two witnesses and feel confident that your loved ones will be protected after your death.

Succession planning is more than a Will or a Trust; it is a process which looks carefully at your position during your lifetime and the position your loved ones will be in on your death or in the event of a disability.

It involves planning during your lifetime, including asking yourself whether you should have an Enduring Power of Attorney so that someone can manage your affairs if you have an unexpected physical or mental incapacity. It questions whether your business is structured in such a way that caters not only for your participation now, but also for continuity if you die or become disabled in any way. It addresses insurances and management issues, and the accessibility of your personal and business records.

The modern family structure is much less uniform than in earlier days. The incidence of a second relationship for you or your children means that greater care is needed when assessing whether you have the appropriate structure for your business and family. It requires investigation into your business and family structures, matrimonial and property agreements, consideration of creditor protection, tax and other Government legislative provisions. Succession planning means looking at the possibility of inter-generational and inter-family conflict, retirement planning, and care of parents, children and grandchildren. Sometimes equal sharing is appropriate and sometimes it’s not.

It is important to plan, to get appropriate legal, accounting and investment advice and to take positive steps now rather than leaving the decision making process to others because some other event or occurrence intervenes and the opportunity for your input is taken away from you.