Succession has been a prominent subject in British public and political life during 2022

At Burness Paull ‘succession’ – the action or process of inheriting a title, office or property – is very much a hot topic for our Private Client and Family teams. We are already seeing signs of the ‘great wealth transfer’ as the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) who are estimated to control a staggering 80% of UK private wealth begin to transition its ownership. For families and family businesses that means creating a plan – one that will be updated and refreshed regularly – as to how their wealth flows tax efficiently from one generation to the next. In our experience that is often optimally achieved where we as lawyers work harmoniously with other advisors.

That planning comes against a backdrop of a headline inheritance tax rate of 40%, a stagnant ‘nil rate band’ frozen at £325,000 since 2008 and HMRC receipts from inheritance tax surging to over £6 billion. Common issues confronting families and family businesses often include births, blended families, cohabitation, deaths, divorces, marriages, a lack of an obvious successor to a family business and the occasionally (very) wayward child!

To all of these issues Burness Paull applies a holistic approach drawing upon specialists from across the firm. Our Private Client and Family teams work seamlessly together to put in place the main legal building blocks and solutions. Whether that may be a Will, a Power of Attorney (covering financial and welfare matters), a pre-nuptial or post nuptial or cohabitation agreement to contract for what should happen to assets if a couple should separate, a Trust or a family investment company.

Often there may be a need to consider foreign assets and cross border issues. Our Private Client and Family teams include leading legal experts based in three of Scotland’s main commercial hubs: Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Working together to provide clear, commercial and practical advice to families across the generations. The only constant in life for 2023 will be further change. With that in mind don’t delay in putting your plan in place.

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