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  • Accountants and lawyers need each other.
  • Lawyers should always liaise with accountants when dealing with companies.
  • Accountants should always liaise with solicitors when dealing with trusts.

Accountants and lawyers often see themselves as being in competition when it comes to succession planning and business structuring. These three stings are based on recent actual events.

The country lawyer

Fred is a GP solicitor in a country town. He is very client conscious and tries to cultivate a personal relationship with his clients. When an email arrived from the accountant for Fred’s very good client, Joe, laying out a succession plan for Joe’s family, Fred – who had not been involved in the discussions – was more than a little put out. Fred called Joe to arrange a meeting to discuss. There were a couple of tweaks but, broadly speaking, the accountant’s plan is what Joe wanted. Fred thought about calling the accountant to discuss the tweaks but decided, ‘Nah – he didn’t talk to me about the plan so why should I talk to him?’ The plan included transferring the family farm from Joe’s family company to his son, George. Joe didn’t want payment so the transfer was done for no consideration.

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