Succession survey report 2024

16 May 2024

succession report 2024

Successfully navigating the intricacies and challenges of succession and effectively passing on wealth and assets to the next generation is now more critical than ever.

Globally, around $100 trillion is set to be passed down to millennial and Gen X heirs over the next two decades, in what has been dubbed the greatest transfer of wealth in history.

Our joint research project in conjunction with Historic Houses aims to shed light on these issues, and to help estate owners and heirs with their succession planning.

Our respondents

The survey ran from September to October 2023 and unveiled insights from over 140 respondents across the UK. Those surveyed included Saffery clients, contacts, Historic House members, and peers, who either currently own estates or are expected to inherit them in the future.

In total, our respondents represent estates with a combined total value of more than £1 billion, and almost 250,000 acres of land, comprising either, or a combination of, residential property (82%), farmland (78%) or a historic house (62%).

Key findings

42% of survey respondents, representing combined estate values of more than £300 million, acknowledged that they don’t currently have a plan or process in place to prepare the next generation to run the family estate.

This presents a significant risk to the ongoing management and long-term viability of some of the UK’s most important real estate and natural assets.

In addition, our research found that over 30% of current estate owners are unaware of Conditional Exemption, suggesting they could be missing out on valuable tax incentives.


The most pressing fear that estate owners have once an estate has passed to the next generation is its long-term viability as a main driver of family income. We asked estate owners which potential diversification strategies they would be supportive of – whether in their lifetime or included in their succession plan.

Over 80% of estate owners see renewables as a key area for diversification in the future, while more than half stated that biodiversity is also a key area for development.

Hearing from the next generation

Our report also includes an interview with Dr The Hon. Philip Sidney, whose family home has been Penshurst Place in Kent since 1552. He shares his own experiences of inheriting the estate and what the next generation should expect of the succession planning process.

Read our full report

When looking at succession planning, it’s important to get advice early on in the process. Whether you have plans to purchase any further land/assets, or if you are contemplating any sale or disposals, our team is here to help you.

For any queries, please get in touch with David Chismon, Head of our Land and Rural Group, or Peter Harker, Head of our Natural Capital Group.

Contact Us

David Chismon
Partner, Bournemouth

Key experience

David advises owners of landed and rural estates, including individuals, companies, partnerships and trusts.