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Now is the time to review farm succession plans

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Despite the COVID-19 lockdown starting to ease across the UK, most across the country are still spending many hours at home with their families.

Whilst lockdown causes some difficulties, it’s also a good opportunity for farming families to sit down together and seriously plan how they will involve the next generation in the business.

Many have been taking the opportunity to do this vital planning, which is encouraging. However, many more could be taking steps to secure their future.

What is key with succession planning is for farmers to involve professionals early on. Not only are there operational aspects to consider, but also intricate tax planning considerations and the need for a full review of how capital assets are held.

In turn, documents such as partnership agreements and wills will need to be reviewed and, if necessary, amended to keep things in line with in your succession plan. Wills, particularly, is an area so many miss and fail to make changes before it is too late. This is where professionals come in with expertise and support to guide you through the process.

The pandemic has presented farmers with both opportunities and threats. Technology and social media are, more than ever before, an integral business operation tool. Diversification is made more possible as a result. Now is the ideal time for families to look at how the business is run and what direction it will take going forward and this is always the starting point for any good succession plan.

Helen Gough is a Partner and agricultural specialist within our award-winning Agriculture and Rural Affairs department.

For further advice on succession planning, readers can email or call Helen directly through 01905 610410.

You can also follow our Agriculture and Rural Affairs team on Twitter through @mfgagriculture.