One of the main issues around farm succession is simply how to leave the farm to more than one child.

According to James McDonnell, Farm Financial Specialist with Teagasc Oakpark, mediation may be necessary when people are looking at leaving the farm to their children. Some siblings are fine if they get an education but, for others, a site is not enough.”

He also said there are a number of cases where a son or daughter got the farm and the others siblings were to get a payment. “But then the income from the farm could not service this and give an income to the person who inherited the farm. It means the person with the farm is overburdened.”

In its free farm succession clinics, which start in September, Teagasc will provide a number of professionals – accountants, solicitors and Teagasc experts on succession to answer families questions on succession. The individual consultations, which are free, are part of half-day events that are due to start on September 9.

James also said that tax is an issue for many farmers, even though the majority of farm transfers occur without any tax implication, people worry about it.

Providing an income for more than one generation, he said, is also something that people need to look at when dealing with succession. “If you have more than one generation on a farm, with parents heading towards retirement and children in their twenties, you need to look at how can you get two incomes off the one farm?”

He said a case in point that he came across recently involved a family with four generations all living on the farm. While the grandfather had received the farm from his own father at quite a young age, he had not transferred it onto his children yet and was now in his seventies.

The clinics, he said, can help people look at options for collaborative farming and partnerships and transferring part of the farm. The advantage, he said, of having solicitors and accountants and succession experts all on site together means that families with different questions have all the expertise they need in the one room.

He also said that one area farmers are not fully aware of is the need to ensure that entitlements are included in wills. However, he said, one main aim of the clinics is that no one leaves without an appointment to make a will if they don’t have one already.

Anyone interested in the clinics and making an appointment to attend, which is strongly advised, should contact their local Teagasc office.