Wayne Turner instigated a form of future planning for succession and remuneration with us in 2001 and that is what facilitated the whole thing. Without that instigation of the original concept and putting aside money for a future succession plan, I don’t think we would’ve been able to facilitate what we were able to do.
Succession planning was an extremely challenging task to undertake. Wayne was prepared to put his chips on the line, interpreting what we were trying to achieve and putting that into a state for Mum and Dad and I commend Wayne for doing that.
It’s better to talk about succession planning when parents are alive, not when they’ve gone — Wayne took his knowledge of our business and was able to turn that into a plan that worked for all of us.
Ultimately we got it done and into a position that’s going work for our family and farm and it’s not worth understating that achievement — working with Wayne made the final process smoother.
The key message is the sooner the better for succession planning for those families talking about the continuation of the farming interest — we were keen to keep farming as long as we could make decisions and sacrifices were made by all parties which are do-able (eg debt load) and our succession plan helps us rest easy at night and have Christmas together.
We are grateful that Wayne was prepared to do it and put relationships on the line with respect to having tough conversations to get it finished off. He was very thorough and took us back through the full process step by step and also recognised the financial window for tax and revenue potential were the main catalysts.
Wayne made sure that Mum and my wife were fully up to speed and involved them as partners in the business — he treated them as crucial links in the chain and made them a part of it.
Wayne’s Financial Planning and tax background was very beneficial and our learning curve was intense, but the impact of getting it wrong doesn’t bear thinking about. The farm can go on knowing what we have in front of us.