Farming businesses are being warned they could be risking their families’ livelihoods by failing to make a record of important family discussions.
The agricultural team at law firm Wright Hassall has reported an increase in the number of inheritance disputes arising in farming businesses.
Martin Oliver, a partner specialising in inheritance disputes at the firm, said farming disputes following a family death had increased in the last few years.
He said: “Many of these disputes could have been resolved very quickly, but instead have become extremely costly for the parties involved.
“Emotions tend to run very high between siblings and other family members in cases like this, and the reality is the dispute could be resolved by a straightforward piece of paper.
“It can be as simple as wording such as ‘I’ve had a talk with my son or daughter and I’ve promised them this…’.
It is these conversations which experts are urging farmers to make note of.
John Rouse, partner in the wills, trust and tax team at Wright Hassall, said estate planning for farmers was very much ’a moving target’, as tax laws were constantly changing.
He added: “It is important as a rural business to get your plan in place and on paper. Spending a few hundred pounds to do this properly could possibly save you thousands, if not millions of pounds, in the future.”