Farming Families

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We can advise on:

  • Land Acquisition
  • Farm Sales
  • Agricultural Property Relief
  • Business Property Relief
  • Sites on Farms


  • Conacre Letting
  • Leases of land
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  • Transfers of land/farms to the next generation
  • Succession Planning for farming families

The traditional farm is often run as a Partnership by a few generations of the family, however many farming partnerships don’t have any documentation to support the Partnership position, and this can often cause difficulties if a dispute were to arise between the Partners or on the death of a Partner. We can advise on Partnership Agreements for farming families or advise on changes from a Partnership to a Company structure. Taking steps to put the appropriate documents in place can assist with a smooth transition if one of the Partners should pass away.

Like any family business, farming families need to consider the succession of the farming business once the farmer passes away. It is important for farmers to have an appropriate Will in place, but also to consider the importance of a Partnership Agreement to ensure continuity of the business and an income for the other business partners.

Our expert solicitors can give advice in conjunction with your accountant, as to the best way to set up your affairs to ensure your wishes are carried out. When a farmer dies there are still animals to be fed – the farming doesn’t stop, so it is important that steps are put in place to ensure the farming activities can continue easily. 

Farming partnership disputes can be expensive and time consuming and that is why it is important to put in place the appropriate mechanisms, so that if the worst happens and there is a dispute, a Partnership Agreement is there to clearly set out how matters will be dealt with.

If a dispute does arise within the Partnership that cannot be easily settled, an alternative to expensive litigation is mediation. We have trained Mediators who can help to guide you through this trying time and help to obtain the best possible outcome for all involved, without the need for costly legal proceedings. Our Mediators can work with the families to try to find a resolution that all parties can live with. Unfortunately, some disputes may not be resolved by Mediation and Litigation may be unavoidable, but here at CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors, we have solicitors who can also assist you with court proceedings if matters comes to that.

It is only natural that a farmer wants to keep the farmland in the family and ensure that the family farm is protected if a divorce occurs within the family. A Pre-Nuptial Agreement may be the best solution to this age-old problem and our Matrimonial Solicitors can give guidance on Pre- Nuptial and Post Nuptial Agreements.

Farmers and Landowners need to consider whether there is any development potential on the land which they own, as this can have an impact on how their lands are treated for Inheritance Tax purposes. It is also important to consider when land should be transferred to the next generation – if there is a potential site, timing of this is crucial in relation to various taxes and it is important to seek advice from your solicitor at an early point to minimise costs at a later stage. 

CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors can advise you on the best way to proceed with land transfers and we work with your accountant to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.

If a site or land is transferred to a son or daughter, for instance, the appropriate rights of way, rights for septic tank and soakaways and other services need to be included in any deed to ensure that the site being transferred has all the requisite appropriate legal rights. Our property solicitors have considerable experience in dealing with transfer of sites or land and can advise you on the best way to deal with this.

We have also acted for many farming families in the sale of their farm or acquisition of a new farm or additional land. Some of our solicitors are themselves from farming backgrounds and have first hand knowledge of how a farm operates and how this needs to be translated into legal terms for the benefit of our farmer clients.

We have acted for a farming family who recently set up a lease of their land for a ten-year period – we believe this is the first of its type in Northern Ireland. Working closely with our farmer client and the tenant and their solicitor we drafted a Lease that suited both parties and ensured that our clients were protected.

Long Leases of land are essential for farmers coming toward retirement where perhaps a next generation is not available to continue farming and they also allow young farmers to get “set up” on a farm without the substantial upfront outlay of buying a farm. We work alongside the National Farmers Union in their quest for land mobility and with our experience can assist the Land Owning farmer or Tenant farmer with their legal needs. Julie Ann Osborne is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and keeps up to date with matters that impact on farming families.

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