In conjunction with Albert Goodman, Symonds and Sampson and St John’s Chambers we hosted an evening seminar ‘One Day All This Will Be Yours – proprietary estoppel claims explained by those acting on the recently publicised case of Habberfield v Habberfield’
Attendee, Harry Harris said “we would like to thank you for inviting us to the Seminar last evening. I congratulate you: it was one of the most interesting and informative evenings I have had for a very long time, albeit about an extremely sad case…
I think one could not have found better speakers. The generous hospitality of the supper was excellent. Thank you very much indeed for including us: it has given us serious matters to consider, and we must make sure we take note of the points made during the evening.”
The resounding advice from all speakers was to seek professional advice about the farming structure, how your estate is going to be divided, inform your professional advisors of your plans and where possible be open and honest with family members about your plans.
Jerome Dodge (Head of Private Client) discussed that unfortunately we frequently have to address problems associated with people failing to plan ahead, such as:-
- The farm being broken up on death through the lack of an appropriate Will or where other legal documentation is not already in place, such as a partnership or shareholders’ agreement.
- Wills being years out of date – the most common phrase we hear from clients is “I’ve been meaning to update my Will for years…”.
- The lack of a Will (or having an outdated one) or failure to have an appropriate partnership or shareholders’ agreement in place can also cause Inheritance Tax planning opportunities to be missed; for example, it is easy to miss out on maximising Agricultural Property Relief or Business Property Relief from Inheritance Tax.
- Gifts being given “too late”, leading to Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax consequences; a common one being where a lovely house has been built on the land and then the house is gifted to children, thereby creating a significant charge to Capital Gains Tax, which could have been avoided if the land had been gifted before the house was built.
- A failure to plan for incapacity:-
– It is essential for farmers to have both Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
– If you lose capacity without these documents in place, there is no guarantee as to who will be appointed to manage your financial affairs and the farm generally, and the State will make decisions about social care, ie, whether you are cared for at home or in a care home.
– Lasting Powers of Attorney ensure those whom you love and trust are able to make decisions on your behalf and the lack of Lasting Powers of Attorney can completely scupper your family’s ability to continue to run the farm.
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