Succession planning, why wait?

November 17, 2015

Camilla James, the new partner and head of private client at Square One Law, explains why it is never too early to plan for the future

The problem with succession planning is that we often don’t realise its importance until it is too late.

It is also thought of as something to do once, perhaps when thinking of selling your business when in reality your succession strategies should be reviewed throughout your life as you, your business and your family evolve.

According to wealth management service Zen Wealth, as many as 60 per cent of business owners do not have a succession plan in place. The position is often worse for family-run organisations as emotional connections can make planning for the future more complicated. As a result, research indicates that only 3 per cent survive to the fourth generation.

When it comes to planning for the future there is no one-size-fits-all and it is important that you understand the options available and the best way to structure your strategy to best benefit you and your family.

Succession and estate planning specialist, Camilla James, has recently joined Square One Law to head up the private client team.

Camilla joins the firm from Ernst & Young where she focused on the establishment of tax efficient structures for the preservation of assets and for succession planning purposes.

Originally from the Borders but having spent much of her career in London and the Thames Valley, Camilla was keen to move back up North and is delighted to join the team at an exciting time in its evolution.

Camilla says: “Succession strategies should never be static documents and should be reassessed as your circumstances change. This could be when setting up or selling a business, if family structures change or if looking at charitable giving.

“Regardless of your motivation there are various vehicles, each with their own levels of protection and tax implications that you can use to manage the process and your tax obligations most effectively, particularly when looking at philanthropy.”

Camilla has considerable experience in advising on philanthropy matters, tax efficient giving and charity issues. She also advises on both the establishment and ongoing legal requirements of charities, their taxation and trading.

She continues: “Philanthropic giving is often a large part of an individual’s wealth management plan. This could include anything from straightforward donor funds to Trusts, gifts and the establishment of charitable organisations or community interest companies (CICs). I regularly work with clients to help them decide the best route to suit them and put those plans into place.”

Private client consultant Robin Winskell adds: “We are delighted to welcome Camilla to the team.  Square One Law has a reputation for representing entrepreneurial and fast growing businesses and managing the wealth that these clients generate is an important part of the service that we provide.  Camilla’s expertise in advising high net worth individuals, families and charities adds further depth to the team and her arrival means we can further expand our range of services with the aim of providing solutions to cut through the complexity of private client planning.”

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Photo: Camilla James