Prevention is far better than cure: meet the experts who can help at this year’s Driffield Show

10 July 2018


A farming family’s future should be the most important consideration for any land-owner, but have YOU done enough to secure yours?

More than 50 agricultural professionals in East Yorkshire were recently invited to our annual spring conference, during which they heard about the dangers of ignoring vital elements of succession planning and family matters.

The event, which was held ahead of the Driffield Show, saw five of our most knowledgeable legal minds taking to the stage at the Tickton Grange Hotel to press home the need for farmers and landowners to make sure such matters are dealt with.

And now, with East Yorkshire’s premier agricultural event just days away, those same Wilkin Chapman agricultural and family law specialists are reminding people of the need to ensure topics such as death and divorce are discussed and sorted.

With Brexit leading to uncertainty within the profession they say the following are more important than ever before:

Succession planning: If you own a family farm, the need to put clear and proper plans in place is VITAL. Without this, the future is uncertain both for you and the next generation. Making a Will must be a priority.

Reviewing your Will: If you made a Will several years ago, you must review it – especially upon any change in family circumstances.

Business Lasting Powers of Attorney (BLPAs): You never know what is around the corner. A serious accident or a sudden medical condition could leave you unable or unwilling to run your rural business – but who will do it for you? Without a BLPA, that choice is taken out of your hands…to protect your future, make sure you consider this.

Family issues: Divorce and death – they may be uncomfortable topics to discuss, but failure to do so could be catastrophic for your farming business.

Partner and agricultural property and land expert James Lloyd says: “I have seen uncertainty over Brexit leading to a number of people either who wish to get out of farming partnerships, making arrangements to go and do something else, or adjusting their position within the partnership.”

James warns of the risks if land-owners fail to take proper advice – especially considering the complex issues that can occur when farming partnerships are set up, rearranged or break down. Old or insufficiently detailed documentation, coupled with lack of communication, can have devastating consequences, he warns. Nevertheless, he is upbeat about the future and the positive impact of ‘steps that can be taken’.

Partner and expert in family matters, James Marsden, urges marrying couples to consider getting properly drawn-up prenuptial agreements, or ‘prenups’ in place. While not binding in UK law, case studies have shown their content is often upheld by the Court.

“They are an extremely important document. Death is not the only thing that can affect farming families and break farms apart, it is also divorce,” he says.

Meanwhile Partner Lesley Archer is keen to highlight the importance of up-to-date and properly drawn-up Wills, ensuring that ‘nothing is left to chance’.

You can find the Wilkin Chapman team ringside at the Driffield Show, position F79.

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