Businesses urged to consider succession planning

Farmers in Northern Ireland are being urged to put proper succession plans in place in order to protect their businesses.

The country's Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill is delivering a series of seminars encouraging farmers to future-proof their businesses, some of which have remained within the family for generations.

Family succession is a growing problem for small and medium sized businesses across the UK and in all sectors as children increasingly work outside the family business without intending to take it over from their parents.

It is estimated that eight out of 10 farmers are yet to identify a successor to their business.

Michelle O'Neill said: "No one likes to consider the thought of death, but it is the one certain thing in life that will affect us all and it is important that you have succession plans in place to safeguard your farming businesses [...]"

"If you do not make a Will your property will be divided amongst your next of kin or relatives in the event of your death, which may lead to disputes within families and even result in the breakup of the farm business and delay any payments that may be due to the business."

"The benefits of making a Will is that it provides certainty and clarity on how your estate will be divided, avoiding the potential for disputes and delays."

The Minister also reminded farmers of the importance of regularly reviewing any Will to take account of changes in the farm business, family circumstances and changes in the law.

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