New Zealanders pride themselves on the DIY, “she’ll be right” attitude, but this is no way to approach succession planning says Perptual Guardian's Jan Middlemiss.

After more than 20 years of helping families with estate planning, Jan Middlemiss of Perpetual Guardian says like insurance, it’s a risk that needs to be managed to protect your assets and your legacy.

At FMG we pride ourselves on providing advice that helps our clients manage risk and Perpetual Guardian has 135 years of experience in helping New Zealanders with estate and succession planning.

Jan is the Branch Manager for Tauranga/Rotorua and says it’s best if family conversations start sooner rather than later.

‘It’s important not to let too much time pass before you take the steps necessary to make your plan successful, and to support the next generation as they work towards their goals.”

“It’s never too late though. The worst thing you can do is do nothing,” says Jan.

She suggests taking expert advice at the beginning and talking to all your family if you can.  “That way they can ask questions now and are more likely to be supportive and work together. They may also bring ideas to the table that you hadn’t thought of.”

Jan says her team at Perpetual Guardian are there to help with those sometimes-difficult conversations. “Our local staff are skilled and experienced and can meet with you, your family and your other trusted advisers if you would also like to involve them.”

“If you can’t have these conversations with your family, we can advise you on what steps to take to ensure your wishes are recorded, so that there is a strategy in place to meet these and someone skilled appointed to implement your plan,” says Jan.

It’s an area that is often neglected as many think it is too hard, or they don’t know where to start, says Jan. She warns against relying on something put in place 30 years ago that is no longer fit for purpose.

“In our experience, this will always cause problems and family disharmony. Everyone may have a general idea of what the long-term plan was, but unless you have put all the necessary steps in place it will fail, and your family will be in conflict.”