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Farming – The Art of Succession planning

We are constantly being told to plan for the future and are bombarded with adverts for Will planning, funeral arrangements and pension schemes on a daily basis. It is important to plan for the future and to make arrangements for your retirement, inheritance and loved ones.

This is particularly important for farmers who have to consider succession planning for the welfare of their farm and their families; particularly where a farm has already passed through multiple generations and where farming is not just a source of income but is a way of life.

Succession planning can take a number of forms; Wills, Trusts, separate Business entities. But have you considered what will happen when you or a member of your family get divorced? What will happen to the Farmhouse and the rest of the Farm assets? How will your livelihood and way of life be affected? Can you still preserve the Farm for the next generation?

No-one likes to think about divorce particularly if you are in a happy marriage. But for farming families, a divorce can be particularly expensive, stressful and notoriously difficult to resolve.

What can you do?

If you are not yet married, then you should consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement. Although these are not legally binding in England and Wales (as of July 2019); if they are prepared properly with both parties having independent legal advice and with full financial disclosure then the Court  may uphold any Pre-Nuptial Agreement. Even if you are already married, you can still enter into a Post-Nuptial Agreement and provided it is prepared properly, as with a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, it can be very persuasive with the Court.

If you are thinking of separating or are already separated then it is essential to obtain the correct legal advice to ensure that any agreement or Court Order ensures the best outcome for the viability of the Farm Business and preserves the Farm for the next generation.

Sam Hulse, Partner Family Law can be contacted on 01905 775533.

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