10 questions business owners should ask themselves right now

Posted on

Which people are key to the successful operation of your business?

A survey of more than 500 firms by Legal & General revealed that 95% of businesses have at least one ‘key’ individual. However, most have no plans in place to deal with the death or serious illness of that individual.

The study also found that two in five respondents said that they expected their business to fold within 18 months of the death or critical illness of a key individual.

In these uncertain times, as a business owner, you’re probably doing everything you can to protect your business. And, protecting the ownership of your business against death or critical illness, as well as your commercial lending and revenue streams, should be something you consider.

To help you work out if there are gaps in your protection, here are ten questions that you should ask in a ‘risk audit’ of your business.

10 questions to ask yourself right now

  1. Do you have employees who are fundamental to maintaining growth and profitability of your business and whose sudden death (or serious illness) would severely impact your cash flow and/or future profits?
  2. Would your business be able to continue to pay you if you suffered a serious illness or became incapacitated?
  3. Would you receive an income from your business if you were unable to go to work for six months or more?
  4. Have you reviewed your partnerships’/shareholders’ agreement within the last 18 months?
  5. Do you have a written exit agreement or succession plan for your business?
  6. Do you know who will inherit the business should an owner die?
  7. Are you paying for your family life assurance plan out of your own after-tax money?
  8. Do you have a will or Lasting Power of Attorney?
  9. Do you have private medical insurance?
  10. Do you have plans in place to ensure that you maintain your standard of living in the event of serious illness or injury?

If you do identify any risks from this audit – perhaps that you’re paying for life assurance out of after-tax earnings, or that there is insufficient protection in place – then it is time to act.

Some protection options to consider

The results for the ‘risk audit’ above will be different for every business. So, it follows that the needs of every business will be different.

Some firms will have robust shareholder agreements in place and a long-term succession plan. Others will have critical members of staff on whom the business relies.

While the specific needs of your business will determine exactly what measures you need to put in place, here are some of your common business protection options.

Relevant life cover

Relevant life cover is a tax-efficient alternative to a ‘death in service’ benefit that will enable you to pay the family of one of your key employees a cash lump sum if they die while in your employment.

Using a relevant life insurance policy means you can save nearly 50% in tax compared to an ordinary life policy. It’s useful for:

  • Company directors – it can provide a useful tax benefit as your life insurance premiums are paid by the business
  • High earners – the benefits of a relevant life policy don’t count towards your Lifetime Allowance
  • Key employees – this type of cover can provide an individual sum assured, making it perfect for rewarding a few key employees.

Key person insurance

As the Legal & General study found, 95% of businesses have at least one ‘key’ individual. If you have such a person, losing them could have a significant impact on your business.

Key person insurance is designed to help protect your business in the event of death or terminal illness of one or more of your key employees. The policy is designed to pay out a lump sum to cover any loss in revenue or profits – helping to support your business through a difficult period.

Shareholder/Partnership protection

According to Legal & General’s research, 58% of businesses have no formal agreement in place to establish what would happen in the event of the death or critical illness of a business owner.

If a business owner dies or suffers a terminal illness, their share of the business usually passes to their beneficiaries. If the surviving business owners want to regain control of that share, they may need to buy that individual’s part of the business.

Shareholder/Partnership protection help pays a lump sum if a business owner dies or suffers a terminal illness. This provides the capital to enable the surviving business owners to buy that individual’s share of the business.

Loan protection

As a business owner, if you die or suffer a terminal illness, lenders may have the right to demand that any outstanding loans are repaid. For example, you may have provided a personal guarantee. This could create cashflow issues for the business.

Business Loan Protection is designed to provide a lump sum to cover your business loans and other credit facilities.

Get in touch

If you have identified risks to your business, we can help to put measures in place to protect you.

Speak to your Black Swan financial planner, email enquiries@blackswanfp.co.uk  or call 020 3828 8100.

We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter