Forward Thinking Business Blog –
The average age of a farmer in Northern Ireland is 58. For the average to be so high, there are clearly many older farmers within the overall population. Like most family business owners, farmers disadvantage themselves and their families when they postpone succession planning.
Change is inevitable
It is a fact of life that most businesses will face changes in family circumstances due to health, widowhood, marriage and divorce as well as changing family member expectations and needs.
Concerns about separation and divorce can cause particular anxiety for farm businesses where farmers often see themselves as custodians rather than owners of their holding. It is important to be aware that in cases of marital breakdown, there is rarely a 50/50 split of farm assets with matters such as intergenerational farms, financial viability and the spouse’s contribution to the farm all taken into consideration. Usually, a financial settlement is preferable to a farm sale or split in these circumstances, but the question then arises as to how to fund the settlement.