I was at the NFU conference at the end of February and attended a seminar entitled 'Future proofing your farming business through people'.
During the seminar there was a digital poll and 63% of farmers answered that they had no succession plan with 61% of those saying it was just a topic too difficult to discuss.
With the increase in partnership disputes and proprietary estoppel claims we have seen over the last few years, it is extremely important to try and address these difficult conversations.
Early discussions and planning will assist in avoiding problems arising. We appreciate these conversations are difficult but it is sensible for families to be open, transparent and consistent with each other when discussing plans for succession. Those plans must also be properly documented in wills and partnership agreements. Doing that helps to avoid difficult and costly legal issues in the future.
“It is not easy to talk about these types of things because you are talking about what happens when one of you leaves the business or dies." “What I did was to base the discussion on what would happen if I passed away so we could look at the options.”