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If you own farmland, forestry or a diversified portfolio of property holdings you will have many personal legal needs. We understand how easy it is to ignore these but it is important to address them, not least because your own needs are so intertwined with the needs of the land, and probably also the businesses run from the land. How would that business survive if you died? How can you provide for your family without forcing a future sale of the land? What are the tax implications of diversifying a farming business? Will the tax payable on your death undermine the ability to retain the land ? How will you avoid fragmentation of the land whilst balancing the expectations of the next generation?
These are all very difficult questions to answer and we have many years of experience in discussing these with landowning clients across the region. We have tailored packages specifically for the landowner which provide good value access to the following relevant service areas:
Who will you gift your land interests to? Will the holding be viable if it is fragmented? Are your children old enough to take charge of managing the land? How will the value of the land be realised if necessary, perhaps for inheritance tax payment? These are just some of the questions you need to be considering and we will be able to help you find the answers.
The legal and taxation implications on the devolution of agricultural holdings is complex. As such there are various pitfalls for the Will draftsman in dealing with agricultural holdings and experienced, professional advice is therefore essential.
Powers of attorney
If you couldn’t make decisions about the management of your holdings then how would this be dealt with? An inability to manage the business occupying the land, collect and/or pay rents, negotiate rent reviews, take possession proceedings, maintain insurance etc. can all lead to significant inconvenience and financial costs. The loss of mental or physical capacity can strike at any time through accident, sickness or stroke. If your decision making is important to the management of the land then you must ensure you have a contingency. We can review your arrangements and provide advice as to the most appropriate use of powers of attorney.
How will you make best use of the inheritance tax reliefs which apply to property interests? Land owners can qualify for generous tax reliefs and it is essential that you make the most effective use of these reliefs. There is substantial, complex case law relating to the availability of agricultural property relief as the Revenue often seek to deny its availability. Early planning is therefore essential, if you are to avoid future disputes with the Revenue which are often prohibitively expensive.
It’s important that all your professional advisers work together to secure the most appropriate solutions for you and your business. We work particularly closely with surveyors, independent financial advisers and accountants and will be happy to work with your existing advisers. If you don’t already have an adviser in these fields then we’ll be happy to introduce you to one of our trusted contacts.