Succession planning – who are our future farmers?

Dairy Cows - John Cartledge. Baileys and Partners

Spring calving and lambing are complete and at this time of year we reflect on the long winter and look forward to the summer with the warmer, longer days with harvest in front of us. In addition to the physical work involved in running a farming enterprise, administration and succession planning is an essential part of a business’ success.

It’s a common theme that farmers don’t particularly like to talk about succession planning relying instead on a policy of ‘everything will work its way out’, however planning for the future is essential to protect family, assets, and a successful business.

Baileys and Partners are often referred to as ‘independent facilitators’, taking the tension out of business meetings, providing technical advice and setting realistic goals. We understand that with succession planning it is important not to stifle the ambitions of enthusiastic younger members of the team whilst also considering the medium- and long-term goals of the more experienced team members. Costly and lengthy disputes are often the pitfall of those who don’t seek professional advice, and if not handled carefully can be a source of division in families.

Helen Bailey, a Director of Baileys and Partners has recently experienced succession planning in her own family. Helen commented “I am extremely lucky to have parents who are supportive of the next generation of famers. My parents are retiring and providing my brother and his young family with the opportunity to carve their own path in farming. The decision to stand back has not been an easy one for my parents but we are sure it’s the correct one. Now I need to create a list of jobs at my own home to keep my visiting parents busy!”

Professional independent support from Baileys and Partners alongside accountants and solicitors can ease the financial and family pressures of succession planning. As a starter for ten here are a few key topic areas for discussion at a succession and estate planning meeting; Who is the registered freehold owner of the property and is the property registered with the Land Registry? Who is occupying the property and is their occupation documented? What are the long-term ambitions of the team members? What are the key roles of the team members, and what do they enjoy doing? Are there any areas for growth and diversification to maximise assets? Is there a pension plan in place for senior family members?

If you require succession planning support and confidential advice from Baileys and Partners, please do not hesitate to call Ed Bailey on 01341 241700 or email: edmund.bailey@baileysandpartners.co.uk

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