Transferring the Farm to the next generation?
Jun 29, 2012
Remember to factor in health costs for the older generation
Michael Wright - who owns and manages our Tipperary office - advises that families need to plan carefully for the future when transferring a farm from one generation to the next. With Ireland’s population ageing and the Government’s Health Budget under strain, it's particularly important for families to plan ahead so that an elderly loved one is properly cared for.
Martin O’Brien, a family solicitor in general practice in Nenagh, with whom Michael works closely, agrees, “Farm transfers from an older generation to the next often do not factor in costs associated with a change in the older generation’s health. Families are finding themselves financially - and indeed legally - unprepared to deal with long-term illnesses and conditions such as a dementia.”
Michael advises that, in such cases, families need to plan:
• for changing medical requirements,
• the financial and legal implications of these changes
• and consider what input different members of the family want in their parent’s lives.
A crucial thing to include in the Plan is a decision about Enduring Power of Attorney, Martin says. “It is of huge benefit for an older person to appoint someone they trust who can manage their assets in the event the older person becomes incapacitated by a disease such as Alzheimer’s.” It is recommended that people discuss with their solicitor the benefits of Enduring Power of Attorney.
Michael adds, “Finance, health and legal issues top the list of sensitive topics that families can find difficult discussing.” In co-operation with Jake Harwood, Ph.D., Communication Professor and author from the University of Arizona, Home Instead developed ‘The 40-70 Rule’ which gives tips to families on how to start and have these conversations. See Sensitive Family Conversations
for more details.
In some cases, where urgent decisions surrounding care are needed - and there are different views within a family - families are turning to the assistance of professional mediators.
Michael concludes, “Older people want to remain living independently at home for as long as possible and there are various supports within the community to enable that to happen. Here at Home Instead Senior Care, we are supporting farming families where care is required for a relative and the family have decided that home care is the more desirable and appropriate option.”