Farmers in Yorkshire and the Humber are leaving it too late to plan the succession of their businesses, according to research from the Yorkshire Rural Support Network.

Only one of the 38 farmers in the region questioned in the study had succession plans in place in case of his retirement or death.

Sally Conner, North Yorkshire rural stress coordinator, said succession planning should be addressed at an early stage within farming families, and not when farmers are at the end of their career.

“Farmers must understand the emotional and financial impact the lack of arrangements could have on their families,” she added.

Farmers have also been encouraged to ensure their wills have been properly drafted, or face losing their assets.

Careful drafting is needed to ensure farmers can take advantage of the inheritance tax relief agricultural property currently qualifies for, Cordelia Brand, solicitor at Manches, warned.

“If you have land that qualifies for 100% relief and you leave it to your wife, you will lose that relief unless she carries on farming,” she said.

“Farmers need to make sure you have specially structured will to take account of the land with the relief.”

For more information on inheritance tax relief and succession planning, see the Farm Finance supplement in this week’s Farmers Weekly.