Succession planning for family farms under discussion at North East seminar

Experts says having a succession plan in place, along with up-to-date partnership or shareholder agreements, has never been more important

KJB-photography 2010 Anne Elliott, agricultural partner at Latimer Hinks
Anne Elliott, agricultural partner at Latimer Hinks

Darlington-based Latimer Hinks Solicitors has joined forces with a regional accountancy firm and an agricultural consultancy to host a free seminar aimed at helping farmers with succession issues related to their family farms.

The event will address a number of key points, including the personal, practical and tax implications of succession for farmers, as well as an overview of the process and tips on how to ensure the future of agricultural businesses.

Speakers include Neil Adams, principal consultant at Promar International, the UK’s largest agricultural and agri-food consultancy, who will give a presentation entitled Succession Planning and the Family Business. Peter Molyneux, a partner at chartered accountants, Armstrong Watson, will share his insights on the tax implications of succession.

Anne Elliott, an agricultural partner at Latimer Hinks, who will give a presentation called Reap What You Sow, said: “This seminar will be extremely useful to everyone in the agricultural community who should be planning for the future.

“Many farming families do not have a succession plan in place. This can be prove to be problematic if there is a dispute or a partner or shareholder wants to leave or retire - or if that person dies.

“He and his immediate family and the other partners or shareholders often have no idea where they stand. Uncertainty leads to insecurity.

“This can affect not only the business - and potentially its viability - but also family relationships.”

She added that it had never been more important to have a succession plan in place, along with up-to-date partnership or shareholder agreements, including provisions covering death and retirement.

“There should be a clear agreement and understanding as to how assets are owned and profits - both capital and income - are divided amongst the partners,” she said.

“Otherwise this can prove to be a problematic area, both practically and from a tax perspective, particularly where and when relationships break down.”

The Future of the Family Farm seminar will be held at Allerton Court Hotel in Northallerton on November 4. Registration will begin at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. The event is likely to last around two hours and will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Latimer Hinks, which has a team of around 40 people dealing with both private and corporate clients, offers specialist legal services in a wide range of areas, including commercial, residential and agricultural property, tax planning, renewable energy and land owning.

For further information and to book a place at the seminar, call Armstrong Watson on 01609 702 000 or email peter.molyneux@armstrongwatson.co.uk

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