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Farming families and proprietary estoppel

Jessica Newton
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Proprietary estoppel cases are becoming increasingly common in the farming sector, often with one child, rightly or wrongly, believing that they will inherit the entire farm on the death of their parents. Some children would have worked on the farm their...

Succession planning for farming families

Jessica Newton
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The recent Court of Appeal decision in Kingsley (Deceased) v Kingsley highlights the importance of succession planning and thinking about the future for farming families. Background The Kingsley family had farmed at Lodge Farm since the mid-19th century,...

Potential changes to Business Property Relief

Jessica Newton
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In 2019, the Office of Tax Simplification (“OTS”) carried out a review of UK Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) as set out in Katie Gibson-Green’s blog “ Proposed changes to IHT and how that affects farmers ”.  One of the...

Budget update for farming families

Katie Gibson-Green
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The budget has been eagerly awaited, with announcements in recent times to scrap Entrepreneurs Relief, Agricultural Property Relief (APR), Business Property Relief (BPR) and other taxes which would directly impact our farming clients. So, what have the...

How might changes to CGT affect farmers and land owners?

Jessica Newton
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Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is payable on any chargeable gains made on the disposal (or deemed disposal) of capital assets. The Finance Act 2019 came into force on 12 February 2019 and implements changes to the current CGT regime taking effect from 6 April 2020,...

Proposed changes to IHT and how that affects farmers

Katie Gibson-Green
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The Tax Simplification Office has reported the need to overhaul the complex tax system under which we currently operate. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Inheritance and Intergenerational Fairness has published a report recommending the abolition of...

New Agriculture Bill in Parliament ahead of Brexit

Jessica Newton
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On 16 January 2020, the Agriculture Bill was introduced into Parliament, but what will this mean for farmers and agricultural workers? The Agriculture Bill is intended to replace the Common Agricultural Policy on the UK’s exit from the European Union....

The General Election: Entrepreneurs' Relief for farmers

Jessica Newton
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Ahead of the General Election on 12 December 2019, it seems as though Entrepreneurs’ Relief may be at risk. The Labour party has undertaken to abolish Entrepreneurs’ Relief, whilst the Conservatives have promised a ‘review and reform’...

APR: scaling back farming activities in later life

Jessica Newton
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A recent case at the First-tier Tribunal, Charnley v HMRC, concerned a farmer that had historically farmed the land in question with his father. In the years prior to the farmer’s death, his farming activities had been scaled back to reflect his...

Farming: the UK's deadliest industry

Katie Gibson-Green
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Farming has now been dubbed as the UK’s “deadliest industry”. It has been named as the most dangerous profession for many years now by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Other notoriously dangerous jobs, such as working on a...

Farming and Brexit on BBC Essex

Katie Gibson-Green
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I was listening to BBC Essex on my way to work this morning, and there was a discussion about what impact leaving the EU would have on farming in the UK, and our food supply. Dave Lewis, the boss from Tesco, noted that the devil is in the detail. Leaving...

Update on proprietary estoppel claim

Katie Gibson-Green
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Some of you will recall my blog, written back in March 2018 , in respect of the Yeovil farm belonging to Frank and Jane Habberfield. Frank died in 2014 leaving his estate to his wife, Jane. However, their daughter, Lucy, had worked on the farm since...

Misunderstanding agricultural tenancy can result in termination

Caroline Dowding
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The recent finding in the case of Auliffe and others v Ellis provides a stern reminder to agricultural landlords and tenants alike about the importance of understanding your agricultural tenancy. On the death of a tenant, tenancies under the Agricultural...

Thirty years' work on a farm with nothing in return?

Caroline Dowding
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The recent case of Guest v Guest provides another gentle reminder of the importance of having your rural business’ affairs in order. For over thirty years, the claimant worked on the defendants’, his parents’, farm. He started in 1982 and...

No-deal Brexit: the uncertainty for our farming families

Caroline Dowding
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At the moment, Brexit is always in the news headlines and, whether you are tired of hearing about it or not, its various permutations are inescapable. In the Agriculture and Estates team at Birkett Long, we appreciate that our farming clients may be the most...

Farming Proprietary Estoppel claim goes to Court of Appeal

Katie Gibson-Green
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Following on from my article last year, the case of Moore v Moore has gone to the Court of Appeal, with the Judge finding in favour of Roger Moore’s wife. At the previous hearing, the court ruled that Stephen (Roger Moore’s son) was entitled to...

The return of the 'Death Tax'

Katie Gibson-Green
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The return of the ‘Death Tax’ and the impact on farming families Last February, we discussed the Government’s plans to significantly increase probate application fees -  click here to read the blog .  The changes, which were...

HMRC's appeal on Business Property Relief case dismissed

Katie Gibson-Green
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You may recall, in August last year I wrote a blog on the case of Maurine W. Vinge (deceased) v HMRC 2017, which involved a significant win for the taxpayer against HMRC for successfully claiming Business Property Relief (BPR) on a livery business. Mrs...

Avoid ending up with an unexpected business partner!

Tracey Dickens
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Our Commercial & Corporate Finance Team has seen an increase in new clients experiencing difficulties following the death of a shareholder, whereby the deceased’s shares are being passed to their relatives. Business owners have been seeking our...

Farming dispute highlights the importance of written partnership agreements

Katie Gibson-Green
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The recent case of Wild and others [2018], heard in August this year, once again highlights the importance of having written partnership agreements in place to avoid lengthy and costly disputes.     The background is that members of the...

Taxpayers victorious on Business Property Relief claim

Katie Gibson-Green
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There have been many high profile cases in recent years in which executors have endeavoured to claim Business Property Relief (BPR) on let holiday cottages, in a bid to save on Inheritance Tax – all of which have failed. Until now, let cottages have...

Farming and cohabitation

Katie Gibson-Green
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Cohabitees do not have the same rights as married couples in life or on death, and this is a concept that is largely overlooked when people live together as ‘husband and wife’ but do not enter into a legal arrangement. There have been two...

"The Countryside at a Crossroads" report

Emma Coke FALA
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Since the Brexit referendum, political attention has been almost entirely focussed on the future of farming and, in particular, the subsidy regime. In that context, the recent report by the Lords Select Committee – “The Countryside at a...

Another day, another proprietary estoppel claim!

Katie Gibson-Green
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These days in the farming world, I wonder if I’ll read anything other than proprietary estoppel  claims being brought against the farm. In the latest case, the High Court has granted the daughter of a Yeovil farmer a substantial cash payment in...

The new NFU President

Emma Coke FALA
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Recently, at the NFU Conference 2018 the popular Minette Batters was elected as the first female president in the NFU’s 109-year history. The result had broad support from the farming community and is a significant milestone for the union, Ms Batters,...

NFU Conference 2018

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There was much to think about after the NFU’s conference 2018, which saw the departure of the respected Meurig Raymond, the election of the NFU’s first female president and Michael Gove’s keenly-anticipated speech on the future of farming...

Graham Farrant visits Birkett Long's Colchester Office

Emma Coke FALA
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We were fortunate to meet Graham Farrant, Chief Land Registrar, yesterday  to hear his views on the Land Registry and to discuss our experiences of the service. Graham described an organisation that is committed to continuous improvement in the service...

The importance of having adequate partnership agreements

Katie Gibson-Green
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The recent case of Sergeant V Sergeant highlights the importance of having adequate partnership agreements in place for farming families. The widow of a farmer, Mary Sergeant, made a claim against her late husband’s estate under the Inheritance...

Farming dispute goes to Court of Appeal

Katie Gibson-Green
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Last year I wrote an article about the contested estate of Farmer Roger Moore, who had dementia, and the claim his son made in respect of proprietary estoppel (in this case, a promise that “all of this will be yours one day”). Mr Moore’s...

New code will affect existing telecoms agreements

Emma Coke FALA
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The prospect of the new Electronic Communications Code coming in to force early in 2018 is causing landowners to pull out of telecoms agreements, according to Farmers Weekly Site providers are concerned about the greatly increased difficulty of removing...

Business Property Relief case won by Tax Payer

Katie Gibson-Green
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In the recent case of Maureen W. Vinge (deceased) v HMRC 2017, the argument was won by the tax payer based on common sense, and could open the doors for other claims to be accepted in the future. Mrs Vinge died in May 2012 owning 30 acres of land with...

Lasting powers of attorney for farmers

Katie Gibson-Green
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This morning, a retired Senior Judge has made sweeping statements about the effects of Power of Attorney documents . Denzil Lush, who was a senior judge at the Court of Protection, says that there is not enough safeguarding in place, and vowed never to sign...

A CPRE report claims small farms could be lost by 2050

Caroline Dowding
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Only a couple of weeks ago, my colleague Katie commented on how economist, Professor Helm, called for a review of taxation rules for farmers, taking into account the subsidies they receive, business rates exemptions and reduction of diesel duty. Michael Gove...

Will farming tax-breaks be reviewed?

Katie Gibson-Green
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It has been argued that tax breaks for farmers should be reviewed. The concerns are that the tax breaks are ‘extremely wasteful’ and that the government gives the agricultural sector a disproportionate level of support. There are arguments that...

Farmer's Brexcuse plea fails to impress Judges

Philip Hoddell
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In one of the first known cases of its kind, Paul Mansfield, a fruit farmer from Kent, is seeking to persuade the Court of Appeal that the effect of the Brexit vote should be taken into account in his divorce.  After a very lengthy marriage, and nearly...

Reactions to changes in probate fees

Katie Gibson-Green
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On 18 February, the Ministry of Justice announced that from May 2017, the fee for applying for a Grant of Probate will go from being a fixed fee of £155 for solicitors making applications, to between £300 and £20,000 depending on the value...

Can we enable farming to continue profitably?

Caroline Dowding
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BBC news reported on 10 February, MP’s have stated that the Government's failure to pay EU subsidies on time or help farmers hit hard by delays raises doubts about its ability to cope with Brexit. They say that delays to Common Agricultural...

Don't let Alzheimer's disinherit your family

Katie Gibson-Green
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There was a very interesting article in the Telegraph last week where a mother tried to take advantage of her husbands Alzheimer’s to disinherit her son from the family farm, which totalled in the region of £10 Million. The reason why this is...

2016 Legal 500 results are out!

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"A standout name in Essex" quoted by Legal 500 2016 for Birkett Long! This year has been a great success for Birkett Long, 3 of our partners have again been ranked as "Leading Individuals". These are Claire Read, Head of Wills, Trusts...

What links Willie Nelson, natural gas and the law?

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In a recent interview, Willie Nelson condemned the controversial practice of fracking as ‘bad for the land, bad for the farmers and bad for the soil’. Just in case there was any doubt as to his position, he went on to denounce it as ‘an all...

Our Real Estate team is evolving

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It was great to see so many of our professional colleagues at our breakfast on 10 July to welcome our new Real Estate Department, which has been created to meet the challenges and demands of today’s property market. We look forward to seeing you at...

Dale Farm - where will they go?

Keith Songhurst
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It appears that the long running battle between residents of Dale Farm and Basildon District Council is finally nearing a conclusion of sorts with bailiffs poised to move in to evict the unlawful occupiers. With the eviction currently anticipated to...