Will Solicitors Cork, Midleton and Dublin

Will Solicitors in Cork

Mixing business with pleasure is one thing. But mixing business with family is altogether different, and will often be volatile and dynamic. Walsh and Partners LLP will solicitors Cork, Midleton and Dublin are well versed in the intricacies of will writing. 

Will Solicitors Cork and Midleton

While many family businesses collapse under the weight of high expectations, heavy politics and plenty of personal and professional baggage, many also prosper, due in part to extra steps they have taken such as talking through major issues before launching or implementing a succession plan to protect their business and personal relationships.

Probate and Will Law Firm Cork and Midleton

Disagreements among family members can spill from the professional to the personal, and vice versa. Problems can be particularly acute when parents and children are in business together.

A hostile family workplace is even more brutal, because people know exactly how to push each other’s buttons, and it can adversely affect the family and the farming business.

Implementing a successful succession plan involves more than minimising the tax payable. It will not be successful unless all members of the family understand and are included in the process.

Probate and Estate Solicitors Ireland

Every family and farm transfer is unique. However, from working with farm families and farm transfers throughout my career, I have learned that  certain factors exist that are universal to every family. Here are ten basic tips for succession planning, that will help to ensure the process goes well.

* Do not wait to start planning. There is absolutely no need to rush through the process, in fact its something you should do at a pace that allows your full attention.  The sooner you start planning for the future, the better the options will be available to all. Do prepare a legal will early.

Do not leave the transfer of the family farm until days before your child turns 35. Encourage your son or daughter to obtain the Teagasc Green Certificate as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate. Start talking and planning now.

* Communicate, communicate, communicate! You must discuss the succession plan with all family members. People tend not to feel aggrieved or disappointed, once they understand the reasons behind your decisions. Be open and transparent with all family members.

Do ensure good communication among family members about plans, strategies and issues. Explain why you have decided to leave the farm to John, divide the farm between John and Paul, or sell the farm and divide the proceeds between John, Paul and Mary.

* Decide on a date the succession plan will be implemented. This will give you a timeframe to work towards and measure your performance. Have you done what you said you would have done by this month?

Have you enquired about what social welfare entitlements you may be entitled to claim? Have you instructed an engineer to prepare the map?

* Discuss tax implications with a tax consultant before you put pen to paper. It is important to know how much the personal cost will be to yourself. The person who is successor may also incur costs so it is important to allow them time to expire this. 

* If the family is in fear of a disagreement, and therefore takes no action, consider hiring a professional mediator experienced in farm transfers (such as Succession Ireland, based in Mallow, Co Cork).

If communication in the home and farmyard is poor or non-existent, everyone is suffering, including the business going forward. Mediation is confidential, non-judgemental, and impartial. A mediator will manage the process, only you and your family will determine the outcome.

* Put together a detailed inventory of each debt and asset you have, this will make the process so much easier for your solicitor when you engage with them to explore a transfer. This process will also simplify matters when it comes to dividing any assets amongst offspring. 

* Determine the things that are most important, values and priorities for each individual family member, to help you decide what to do. It is a good starting point to ask each child to identify something from the family home which they would like to be theirs, after your lifetime.

* Address the issue of fair (equitable) versus equal division of the farm early in the process, especially if there are off-farm family members involved. It may sound strong but fair does not necessarily equate to equal, and equality does not need to be fair.

If John never went attended college and remained  farming full-time at home, and the other children were educated and never farmed, then equal is not fair in that circumstance.

* Once you complete the transfer of the farm, it is important that you realise this valuable piece of property is no longer under your control. Take the time to research the options available and talk through these options with a solicitor who has expertise in this area. Remember, you also have to plan for your own life once the transfer has been completed.

Do you keep a right of residence in the farmhouse for the rest of your life? Maybe you want to wait until your will leave the farmhouse to someone else?Do you require a right of maintenance out of the property?

* Do not assume that you know what others are thinking or how they feel about the process, or what they want to achieve from the succession plan.

Listen carefully and ask questions, when you find something hard to understand. Get professionals to assist. For many farmers, it is a legacy of a lifetime.

Contact Walsh and Partners LLP, will solicitors in Cork City, Midleton and Dublin, for further information. 

See walshandpartners.ie/blog for more!

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