64 per cent of farmers are concerned about succession planning
Two-thirds of farmers have no succession plans in place despite 64 per cent being concerned or greatly concerned about it, according to a survey by MHA chartered solicitors.
Speaking at a Napthens Farm Future event in Tarleton, Lancashire, Roger Anderton, chartered solicitor at R.J. Anderton, said only 27 per cent of farmers had no concerns over succession.
"Most farmers I deal with do not have a succession plan and the farm has to be sold when they die."
Mark Pearson, Lancashire agricultural director at HSBC, gave some of the most common excuses for putting off planning.
"People are worried about causing disputes, but are you not better having the dispute now than when it is too late? People do not like talking about death."
Other worries include keeping control and issues with sons and daughters-in-law.
Mr Pearson said lack of planning could ’cause chaos’ for the next generation.
"After a loss, they may then have to close the farm," he said.
"You need to aim to manage the unexpected."
He warned there could be more immediate consequences as many of the younger generation are more worried about succession.
"If they are given no responsibility they might leave," added Mr Pearson.
"Encourage responsibility and experience. Do not leave it too late, they will need that skill set."
Melissa Taylor, of Napthens, said without planning ahead, assets would be shared equally under rules of intestacy.
"Equal does not always mean fair. It may be things are unequal in value but fair for farming and non-farming children," she added.
She emphasised the importance of reviewing deeds, business contracts and any succession planning farmers have already done.
Ms Taylor added: "What assets do you actually have? Do you know what will happen to them?"
"Take advice, discuss your wishes with your family and complete the documents.
"And once they are completed, keep them under review."