bporeilly  
Gavel

B.P. O'Reilly

Legal Services For Individuals

Legal Services For Business


Concern over future of Farm

Dear Brian and Declan, I have been going out with my boyfriend now for over seven years. Five years ago his father died in an accident on the family farm. My boyfriend has worked on the farm all his life with his Dad and they were the best of friend

Dear Brian and Declan,

I have been going out with my boyfriend now for over seven years.  Five years ago his father died in an accident on the family farm. My boyfriend has worked on the farm all his life with his Dad and they were the best of friends too.  After he died my boyfriend took over looking after the farm and also drives a lorry full time.  When the Dad died he left any of the land that was solely in the Dad's name to his son (my boyfriend) but any of the land that was in the mother and the father's joint names was to go to the mother and then to my boyfriend. After his death there was debt owed and we knuckled down and got the place out of debt and now the place is flying.  My boyfriend lives at home with his mother and he has five sisters who have all moved out.  When I was finished my degree I got a good job and then we decided that we wanted to move in together as everything had settled down at my boyfriends house. When he said that he was moving out the mother said that if he did she would change the will and he would not get what he was always promised from the father. It wouldn't be such a big problem but this was what he always intended to work at.  He got a good leaving cert and was offered places in college but under the parents persuasion and because he liked farming he decided that that would be his livelihood. Now it seems that if he moves out all that he has worked for all his life will be taken away from him and we will have no life.  His mother suggested that I move in with her and him, and she said that sure people don't have kids nowadays until they are forty!  The mother is deranged.  All the time we looked after her when the father died and now she won't let my boyfriend have a life.

 I don't know what to do.  I suppose I am kind of panicking. C.

Hi C.

 This problem of farm succession is repeated over and over again the length and breadth of the country and the only way to resolve the matter is that your boyfriend and mother should sit down and discuss the issue.

The first thing I want to say is that the situation about the legal title seems clear. Your boyfriend was willed the land by his Dad and I’m assuming that Probate was taken out and the land is now securely registered solely in your boyfriend’s name. You say however that the land that was in joint names of the father and mother was willed to the mother and after her death it would go to your boyfriend. There may be a problem here. Property in joint names (if owned as joint tenants) goes automatically to the survivor on the death of the first joint owner regardless of what it says in the father’s will. If this is the case, then the mother actually fully owns that land and she can, subject to the rules of the Succession Act, will that land to whoever she wants. If on the other hand the mother and father held this land as what’s called tenants in common then she owns half for herself and the other half depends on the exact wording of the father’s will. I think that your boyfriend should immediately clarify this with the family’s solicitor and find out exactly where he stands.

On a human level I’m sure that the mother is worried about her own position as she grows older. Don’t underestimate the worry and panic that the elderly experience in rural Ireland over dying alone in a state run nursing home, put off the land by an uncaring family. Please don’t get me wrong C – I’m not for a minute suggesting that this would happen in your case but the mother might have that perception and from what you say she is the one that may be panicking more than you. And her asking you to move in sounds like that is the case.

What is needed here is a deal to fulfil everyone’s needs. Your boyfriend and mother need to talk this through and on the one hand the mother’s position could be secured by your boyfriend giving her a lifetime right of residence in the house so she knows that she has security to the end of her days – in exchange for her transferring now all of her legal title. And “now” is the operative word. Don’t wait for it to be done in a Will. As she said Wills can be changed and the last thing you need is a formula for litigation. On top of that, with a Will, your boyfriend’s sisters may have rights under Section 117 of the Succession Act – which I dealt with before on the programme.

Incidentally there are tax incentives for early parental transfer of farms to suitably qualified young farmers such as tax rebates and so on. Earlier I advised that your boyfriend should clarify the title to the part of the holding registered in his mother’s name. While he’s at it he should also ask for specific legal advice on any possible deal with the mother.

I know that you’re ambitious for your boyfriend but treat this situation with great delicacy and let your boyfriend deal with his mother in a trusting and open way.

 

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

Newstalk latest


B.P.O’REILLY & COMPANY SOLICITORS & NOTARIES ARE LAWYERS BASED IN DUBLIN IRELAND SPECIALISING IN LEGAL AND NOTARY SERVICES FOR BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WHO NEED ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION IN LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CASES.

HEAD OFFICE: B.P O'Reilly & Co. Solicitors, Coric House, Main St, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Republic of Ireland.

Telephone: (01) 4525211      Fax: (01) 4525436

[International (+353-1) 4525211 Fax: (+353-1) 4525436]         

 E-mail: general@bporco.ie

© B.P.O'Reilly & Company Solicitors 2002-2008.

The information contained in this website is of a general nature and should not be relied on in every circumstance
involving what is written and/or said involving the services of B.P.O'Reilly & Company. Consequently, no responsibility will be taken by the site promoters as to the accuracy of its contents. If you have a specific query please contact B.P.O'Reilly & Company.