Many farmers will say that they do not view themselves as owners of their farm but merely stewards looking after the farm for future generations. However, all too often there is no plan for how the farm is going to pass on to that next generation.

The absence of a succession plan can lead to family disputes and can put the future viability of the farm at risk.

For any business, but particularly for a farming business, it is important for planning to start early.

The key steps in any succession plan are:-

  • have open and frank discussions with your children;
  • check how any land is owned and the terms of any tenancy agreements;
  • structure arrangements in such a way as to maximise valuable Inheritance Tax reliefs;
  • if you are in partnership, have a formal agreement which clearly sets out the responsibilities of the partners, how profits are to be shared and how any land is held; and
  • above all, make a Will and keep it up to date so as to ensure that your farm passes to your chosen beneficiaries.