The Farmer's Guardian writes this week about the particular tendency within farming families to avoid tackling succession planning either at all, or until it almost too late. In the FG's fabulously named Podcast: Have I Got Moos for You, rural & agricultural agent Heather Wildman highlights the fact that farmers often see themselves as different and use that fact to justify not doing any forward planning.
I have definitely seen evidence of this in the field of divorce law, where farming spouses' separations are made all the more painful, difficult and costly as a result of no clear documentation setting out the business ownership. Whilst pre-nuptial agreements are in general on the rise, there are only a few very switched on farming families who put these in place.
So too we have seen a large increase in contentious probate cases involving farms: so-called 'proprietary estoppel' cases where the 'one day all this will be yours' promise turns out never to have been formalised. The media take great delight in reporting the salacious details of the legal battles of seemingly dysfunctional farming families.
Whether these challenging, mortality-focussing times will result in a shift within the farming community towards better documenting and future planning remains to be seen.
Honesty is best policy when it comes to succession planning News09 Oct 2020Ben Briggs Having a ‘how to’ guide written down which details how a farm business operates is a vital piece of the succession jigsaw, a business adviser has claimed. Ben BriggsBen has been Editor of Farmers Guardian since March 2016 and oversaw the publication's change in format from newspaper to magazine ...Load More Ben BriggsBen has been Editor of Farmers Guardian since March 2016 and oversaw the publication's change in format from newspaper to magazine ...Load More Share This Honesty is best policy when it comes to succession planning It also meant there was a safety net which enabled other members of the team to keep an enterprise running in case the person at head of the business exited suddenly.