Build An All-Star Team to Guide Your Succession Plan

Move your succession plan forward with collaborative experts

Many brains are better than one. As you move forward with your farm’s succession plan, your professional team will be critical in helping you achieve your goals.

“Evaluate the team you’re working with now as well as anyone you’re bringing in new,” says Rena Striegel, president of Transition Point Business Advisors. “When you have a team that works collaboratively you will receive the best solutions.”

A comprehensive succession planning team can include a family business consultant, an accountant, an attorney, an insurance agent, a financial planner, a conflict-resolution specialist or a combination of those roles. You will also need a quarterback for your advisory team, usually from one of those professional categories, to ensure everyone stays informed

“If you have not hired someone to run the collaborative team, you are the quarterback,” Striegel says. “You call the shots. They work for you.”

Watch a video of Rena Striegel sharing advice on how to choose the right professionals:

Achieve More Faster

The goal of a collaborative team is for each member to bring his or her unique expertise to the table. Once all perspectives are considered your plan will have a higher probability of success, says Matt Roberts, chief planning officer at Syverson Strege.

“If you get your entire team in a room, it will be an expensive meeting,” Roberts says. “But how much will that reduce calls from when people are not on the same page?”

Advisors may be suspicious of the process because they feel like they are losing control of the relationship and project, Roberts says. But the plan a collaborative team generates will be easier to maintain going forward and offer your family better solutions.

Roberts suggests your team meets once a year on an ongoing basis.

“You’ll need to continually evaluate your personal situation, any tax law changes, etc.,” he says. “It’s a process that gets easier as you go along.”

Sample Interview Questions

As you evaluate and build your team, you need to answer two key criteria about your professionals: How do they behave? What do they know? The questions below, provided by Rena Striegel of Transition Point Business Advisors, assess if professionals have the correct experience and attitude to help your family.

  • How long have you been providing succession planning services?
  • How do you get paid for your services?
  • Are you willing to work collaboratively with my other professionals to develop the best solutions for my family and operation?
  • Do they listen to you fully and not interrupt?
  • Do they want to know about challenges in your family?
  • Are they likeable?

Want to find more interview questions and tools to guide your farm’s succession plan? Check out the Dedicated Internal Resource for Training and Transition (DIRTT) Project provided by Transition Point Business Advisors.

What’s included in The DIRTT Project?

  • All-inclusive succession planning guidance, at an affordable price
  • 5 step-by-step online courses that seamlessly guide the process and can be done at your own pace
  • Straightforward guidance for the hardest transition planning situations from an advisor who knows agriculture
  • 60-page comprehensive workbook containing worksheets and tools to guide the development of your succession plan
  • 32 videos addressing critical questions and best practices to consider when developing your plan

Learn more about The DIRTT Project.

Article by Sara Schafer


Read the entire article HERE in the magazine.