“Procrastination always gives you something to look forward to..." Said a wise man. Well, every cloud!
Like us, you are perhaps not sitting at home watching the television all day. Your lawn may have never been so well mowed, but you are no doubt still very busy with your professional life, fire-fighting issues with your business, staff, customers, suppliers, modelling and re-modelling cash-flow and the like.
However, for many, the current crisis situation will:-
a) Cause many of us to reflect, on what is important, and on the things that we meant to do, but never have the time to do; and
b) Provide us eventually with a little down-time in which to finally consider them.
Depending on how long the current situation lasts, we may well run of out excuses for putting off various boring, yet important things – when the other voluminous day to day pressing matters diminish.
From a legal / business point of view, here are some things to consider:
Make a Will
This is an easy one to put off, and we are all guilty!
Frankly, death is in the news all day, every day, and at the moment more so than ever, so your thoughts might well have changed.
Many of our sensible clients have thought about making a Will – often when on holiday (as for many, only then do they have time to remember), but once back at the coal face the documents stay on (and eventually reach the bottom of) the pile at the end of the kitchen table.
You have heard all the reasons why making a Will is a good idea (to keep money out of the hands of HMRC; to properly provide for your dependants and be fair to them; to prevent the yet to be born children of your spouse’s currently unknown future partner getting all your money) so I won’t repeat those.
But this is something that only needs you, your time, and your solicitor, to get done.
No need for the cooperation of any slow bank, difficult landlord or bureaucratic regulator! So this is eminently do-able.
We solemnly hope this will never be the case, but if hospitalized / incapacitated, you may also need somebody else to make certain decisions for you – both about your health and your finances.
They will need that authority – which is why a Lasting Power of Attorney is also a good idea.
Partner & Head of Tax & Estate Planning, Samantha Piper, can provide you with expert advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Review your Employment Contracts
You may have known for some time that the contract you have been re-hashing and giving out to all new staff since 1981 is archaic and probably will not help you should you ever need to call on it.
Thankfully, you are a very fair and generous employer who (save for the odd one who somehow sneaks through the interview process) never has real problems with staff. You treat them well, and they reciprocate.
However, the current situation (short hours, reduced pay, furlough, questions about annual leave, and the like) may have thrown a spotlight on some shortcomings in the formal terms you have with the staff.
You may be worried that, whilst the staff appear to have a “we are all in this together” attitude now, you may be inundated with claims from them later.
It may be a good time to review these, get them up to date and protect your business from avoidable costs.
Specialist Employment & Dispute Resolution Solicitor Linda Wylie can help clarify any concerns you have at this time: email@example.com
The accountant may have been telling you for ages that, for example:-
a) You should be using a limited company – to protect from liability and to save tax; or
b) Each business should be in a different limited company, perhaps with a holding company on top, so as to take advantage of a group structure, and ring-fence the risks and liabilities associated with each venture, or to take advantage of banking / finance opportunities, or to preserve the flexibility of being able to sell part of the overall business easily in the future; or
c) That property and trade should be separated to split the risks of one asset group away from those of another asset group.
You may have thought ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ – especially when too busy to do anything else! But perhaps you may have time now to progress these ideas.
A golden (hopefully once in a life-time) opportunity to do so!
These are tasks where the accountants are the brains and the solicitors are the brawn, so your accountant will drive it and advise you, and you will need our help to ‘make it happen’.
You may have already considered the idea of moving your debt from your current bank to a new bank.
You may have contacted your current bank and asked it for help – for example, for a capital repayment holiday for three months.
They may have been difficult, awkward, offered you a huge over-draft instead, and that may have annoyed you.
As a result, you may have noticed the rates of interest currently on offer and worked out the saving you could make if you switched.
Opportunities may have arisen, but the appetite of your bank to lend to you right now may be less than you hoped for.
You may be an RBS customer who has been contacted in relation to the scheme to pay you to leave, and you may be thinking ‘why not?’.
The idea may have been discussed between you and your IFA / accountant in the context of applying for a loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CoBiLS).
There will be a little legal help you will need with a refinance.