Ever increasing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, along with major changes stemming from the new Agriculture Bill, will see shifting sands for Lincolnshire’s farming sector, an audience at Louth’s Brackenborough Hotel was told.
And as a result, now is the time for the county’s rural community to look at its future and make plans to secure it for the next generation.
More than 50 agricultural delegates gathered at the hotel’s Tennyson Suite to hear from some of the county’s most knowledgeable legal and accountancy professionals on how major changes are likely to affect them, on a professional and personal level.
James Lloyd is a Partner who specialises in complex succession and property matters within the agricultural team at Wilkin Chapman solicitors.
He said: “It is important, and now more than ever, that farming families and businesses need a very clear idea of where they are going from now into the future.”
James stressed how the proposed new Agriculture Bill will lead to a large sector shake-up, altering the way in which farmers and land managers are supported. And with Brexit running alongside, rural concerns must act to create as much certainty as possible – for their businesses and their families.
James added: “Up to 60 per cent of UK farming businesses do not have a succession plan in place, but farming businesses and families need a clear action plan to help them in future.”
The seminar had earlier heard from fellow Wilkin Chapman Partner Flora Bennett who is an agricultural specialist based in the Lincolnshire Wolds, and her colleague, Senior Solicitor Anne Dales – an experienced private client lawyer.
Using a farming family scenario, they stressed the importance of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Partnership Agreements in helping to pass a viable business to the next generation – while protecting the futures of spouses and close relatives.
Failure to plan in this way could lead to uncertainty, family angst and the eventual demise of a business with the farm being split, they warned.
However, there were all sorts of solutions that could be put in place with proper planning to help business, family relations and tax planning.
Flora Bennett said: “Start these conversations now.
“Planning properly can be a lengthy process and at least if you start talking, you can get a feel for what the issues are and start looking for solutions to them.
“Consider your family members, plan who will run the business and ask individuals what their wishes are.”
• Specialists from Forrester Boyd Chartered Accountants complemented the legal side of the seminar with presentations on Inheritance Tax, Agricultural and Business Property Reliefs and the onset of digital tax in 2019.