Impacts of our ageing population on business succession – SA Estate & Business Succession Planning Day

Julie Van der Velde CTA (VdV Legal) 
Australian’s life expectancy has increased significantly in recent years. While a person in their mid-50s today can expect to live well into their 80s, this has considerable implications for business succession.

Many business owners simply intend to postpone retirement. As a result, business succession often involves structuring a means by which the next generation of leaders (family or otherwise) can work with a leader who wants to ‘cut back’ rather than retire.

The planning issues involved are complex, and having these conversations can be awkward, giving rise as they do to both pre- and post-death considerations.

At the upcoming Estate & Business Succession Planning Day, some of South Australia’s leading advisers and tax specialists will address real-world issues and opportunities, including business sales, valuations, due diligence, superannuation, documenting succession arrangements and more.

Here we speak with Julie Van der Velde CTA (VdV Legal) about her session that opens the event and sets the scene for the day. 

Julie told us that “businesses, particularly family businesses, tend to be structured the way they are on the basis that leaders retire in their early 60s, if not before. The conventional, or perhaps the historic, paradigm was that these leaders did not require financial support from the business or elsewhere for more than a few years after that retirement. The world has changed.”

Offering practical insights from her career as a solicitor specialising in business structuring and inter-generational transfers, Julie’s session will look at how business families deal with issues arising from these changes, including loss of capacity, long-term funding for retirement, and the means of devolving control over business and wealth holding structures. 

Julie told us: “I regularly deal with people in their 40s or older who suddenly realise they have no recognised qualifications and few savings, as they have invested their careers in a business wholly owned by parents who are not retiring in their early 60s and expect to be funded well into their 80s and beyond. Often the issue for the parents is that they need that adult child’s contribution to the business but have no intention of giving up control or ownership too soon.”

Julie began working in tax in 1997 and joined The Tax Institute in 2002. Having worked in accounting firms, including a ‘big four’ practice and several law firms, she started her own boutique legal practice in 2016 and was the 2017 winner of the Tax Institute’s SME Tax Adviser of the Year award.

When asked about what delegates will take away from her session, Julie said: "Hopefully, delegates will gain some insights that will help them to think outside the square and offer their clients a wider range of strategies to facilitate the best outcome for each. I also hope that delegates will get an appreciation of the breadth of the issues involved and the benefits of collaboration between professionals in different disciplines.” 

The SA Estate & Business Succession Planning Day is on 15 September 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. 

You can find out more about the rest of the program on our website. You can also read our post here about the session at the event titled ‘The deal is done – what next?’ to be presented by Brett Zimmermann CTA.

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