Farmers across Worcestershire have been warned they risk unnecessary family fall-outs, heartache, and the future prosperity of their businesses if they fail to put written legal agreements in place.
Farming and agricultural disputes expert Helen Gough has issued the alert following concerns that too many farmers are failing to get down on paper their Partnership Agreements.
Ms Gough, an associate at law firm mfg Solicitors, said not having a written agreement in place leaves farmers being forced to rely on legislation dating back to before the invention of the tractor – the Partnership Act 1890 – risking a breakdown in relations.
She said: “For farming partnerships, a written Partnership Agreement is vital. It safeguards the assets of the business as well as the individuals interest, as it determines who is entitled to what.
“Farming is often a family affair and no-one wants to have to think about the prospect of things going wrong. However, if the worst does happen and family members or partners fall out, the chance of a reconciliation is even less if they drag each other through the trauma of the courts.
“Without a legally-binding agreement, the parties involved have nothing to confirm where they stand in the event of any disputes and are forced to rely on an archaic Act which may bind parties to something neither want.
“A written agreement is all about people knowing what’s expected of them, including if they want to expand the business, take on new land and assets, and even when it comes to thinking about succession planning.
“It also allows everyone to get on with the job, safe in the knowledge they know their rights, their entitlements and have a plan in place for the future. I would urge farmers across Worcestershire to put their affairs in order as soon as possible and its never and too late to do so.”
Last month, Ms Gough was recognised for her work in the rural and agricultural sector in the latest edition of the Legal 500, the 29th edition of the legal profession’s prestigious referral guide.
For advice on a farming partnership readers can email Ms Gough through firstname.lastname@example.org
or by telephoning 0845 55 55 321.