The time to make decisions about who will succeed us after our time is when we are fit and well. Waiting until we are on our death beds leaves our successors open to all sorts of difficulties. The conversations around property succession can sometimes be simple and logical, but at other times they are difficult and contentious. It is easy to see why we choose to put them off.
The services of a mediator in these difficult conversations can really change the outcomes. A mediator is a trained facilitator/negotiator. Their mission in these matters is to discover what your intentions are, and to thrash these out in the presence of those who will succeed you.
Usually parents will have a rough idea of what they wish to happen. For example they want the farm to go to Michael because he has always worked the farm, and has stayed close to home, or that they want a site to go the each of the remainder of the children. This however may have a huge impact on the lives of the family into the future, and they may have ideas which will better suit all involved.
There are legal rights to be considered here too, and the family solicitor will inform the family of any breach in relation to these, ahead of a decision.
Property Succession: Taxation
Taxation also needs to be considered, it is important to get good professional advice before all decisions are final.
An experienced mediator can help in a number of ways.
- Deciding the agenda.
- Listing relevant bequests.
- Allowing all parties to have their say, in a controlled and respectful way.
- Reality checking decisions.
- Clarifying issues.
- Keeping the process moving, to arrive at satisfactory decisions for all.
- Peace of mind.
- Low cost process.
- Protective of the relationships.
- Opportunity to road-test the decisions made – time for a change of heart.
- Return to mediation if required.