FarmingUK - September 2020

35 Prevention is better than a cure In many cases, a farm has been in the family for generations and the intention is for the future generations to inherit and run the farm. If you are seeking to preserve the farm for the next generation, it is advisable to ensure that any family member who is set to inherit the farm (be it children, siblings, nieces or nephews, etc.) enters into a pre-nuptial agreement prior to their marriage. A pre-nuptial agreement can record how the family farm should be treated upon any future divorce. As above, financial claims can be brought against the farm by a non-owing, non-bloodline spouse. To prevent financial claims being asserted against the farm upon divorce, before any interest in the farm is passed on, the farm-owner should insist upon the next generation entering into a valid pre- nuptial agreement that specifically ring-fences the intended farmer’s interest in the family farm prior to that person’s intended marriage. If the horse has already bolted, and the next generation of farmer has already got married, there is always the option for the spouses to enter into a post-nuptial agreement to preserve the family farm in the event of a future divorce. It is important that each party to a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement seeks independent legal advice in relation to the terms of the agreement. Furthermore, any pre-nuptial agreement must be entered into and signed by both parties no later than 28 days prior to the date of the marriage. It is essential that any pre and post-nuptial agreements make adequate provision for any children of the family. september 2020