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Tailoring trusts

Using shares as the sole asset can polarise settlors and beneficiaries, but if the right initiatives are taken, family business trusts can be reimagined, says Ian Macdonald

1 July 2014

Business owners considering
the transfer of their business
to the next generation are
likely to prefer outright transfer of
shares to chosen successors, often
because that is how they have held
the shares themselves.

It may be, however, that the preferred members of the next generation have not been identified or have not proved themselves, or there may be difficulties balancing the interests of those in the next generation who may work in the business and those who will not. The present owner may also be wary of financial or matrimonial claims against the next generation, which could put
at risk the value or the very existence
of the business.

Future flexibility

In all these situations, using a trust to hold the shares rather than transferring them outright can be beneficial and provide much-needed flexibi...

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