Background

Agricultural Estates and Probate

Our Rural team has extensive experience of advising farming families on how to administer agricultural estates following the death of a farm owner.

We understand the complexities of farm ownership, particularly where farms are owned inter-generationally and/or through farming partnerships, and we have supported many families in resolving the challenges of transferring working farms from one generation to the next. These challenges are significantly more complex when the farm owner dies intestate – without leaving a will.

We are experienced in advising the executors and administrators of agricultural estates in cases of intestacy, though we always advise our farming clients to address these issues proactively by making a will and approaching farm succession planning as a natural part of the life of their farming business.

The administration of a farming estate is complicated not just by the ownership structure of many farms but by the rules around inheritance tax (IHT) and the availability of IHT reliefs, including agricultural property relief and sometimes business property relief. With detailed legislation and HMRC-generated case law that can apply to agricultural estates, it is important that farming families and executors of agricultural estates take legal advice from professionals who have experience in this area. Some of the most common issues that our team encounters include resolving how the farmhouse and farm buildings are treated – particularly where there are multiple beneficiaries in an ongoing farming enterprise – and the role and share of ownership of the deceased farmer in the farming business.

Addressing questions such as who inherits the farmhouse, how is the agricultural estate divided when the deceased is survived by co-owners, and how non-farming beneficiaries are treated without impacting the viability of the farm takes experience, sensitivity and a detailed understanding of the relevant law. Our Rural team can advise on all aspects of agricultural estate administration, helping to ensure as fair a settlement as possible and the best outcome for the farming enterprise as a continuing business.

Inevitably, the administration of some farm estates can lead to disputes where one party feels they been unfairly treated or where the settlement has negatively impacted the continuing viability of the farming enterprise. Our Rural team advises on a wide range of agricultural disputes and farm succession planning disputes and is well placed to help you find the best solution with as little disruption to the farm’s operation as possible.

Team

Sarah Cornish

Head of Private Client

Abi Lutey

Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution

Richard Pollock

Head of Court of Protection

Alan Gates

Associate

Lucy Poole

Solicitor

News & Events

Key contact

Sarah Cornish

Head of Private Client

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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