Hunters Private Client Partner, Patricia Sykes, was recently quoted in a Tatler magazine Special Report entitled “The Young Heirs’ Club” on landed estate succession.
Here is an extract of the article:
“Cue laughter as she gave the floor to Patricia Sykes, a Partner at the ancient family law firm Hunters, which has acted for some of Britain’s grandest families. She recalled the days before the automatic tax exemption of spouses, when a woman who loved her husband and her home could lose both in close succession. She advised those with an estate to choose carefully which child to leave it to. ‘It’s not necessarily the eldest’ she warned. ‘Identify who loves the asset most’.
She told how one client had offered his estate in the North-East and Sussex to his 17-year-old son, but the son wasn’t interested and turned them down. Later in life, the son regretted his decision. The moral of the story was to keep conversations about inheritance open, as a teenager may feel differently when he grows up. ‘My response is, always, for God’s sake, talk to each other.’
Another tip she offered was to involve your heir in running the estate sooner rather than later. She told the story of the client who was loved by his estate workers, but whose son had never been involved. The day after his funeral, they turned their backs on the son, leaving him in an impossible situation.
Perhaps the best point Sykes made was that making a fortune should not be a one-off occasion. ‘Preferably, the next generation should go out and make a lot of money,’ she said. ‘That’s what someone did a long time before you. It didn’t all just come from nowhere. Every generation needs a fresh injection of money, otherwise you end up with an estate that has been nibbled away at.’”
Read the full Tatler magazine article here.