Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks has urged farmers to take a leaf out of the residents of Ambridge’s book and consider estate planning at key milestones, following a recent storyline on The Archers.
The long-running Radio 4 soap opera has a history of covering topics relevant to the farming community. This latest plotline has seen concerned parent, Pat Archer, suggesting her son Tom enter into a post-nuptial agreement to protect the farm following a whirlwind marriage to Natasha.
A recent episode saw Pat and her husband Tony, discussing how to broach the subject with their son and daughter-in-law, without upsetting the happy couple. Having “bitten the bullet” and done so, surprisingly it was Tom who was upset and Natasha who saw the sense of such an agreement.
Anne Elliott, CEO of Latimer Hinks Solicitors, said: “For farming families, the subject of ownership and rights to property is incredibly important, and it’s fantastic that the script writers at The Archers are giving the issue some exposure.
“It’s very common for families to feel apprehensive about broaching sensitive subjects, such as pre or post-nuptial agreements. However if parents in a similar position to Pat and Tony feel uncomfortable discussing it with their son or daughter, they could perhaps make amendments to their own wills to protect their child and ringfence what is intended for their own ‘Tom’ rather than being concerned it will go to a spouse following a divorce.
“It can seem in poor taste to think about the potential of a marriage breaking down when the couple are still in the honeymoon phase or before they’ve even walked down the aisle. However, it is important to discuss inheritance in relation to any big life event, for example a birth, marriage, divorce, death or bankruptcy. It is particularly relevant for the farming community, as the property and the business are the “family silver” and the assets provide a livelihood for everyone.
“These issues all need to be addressed. A marriage will often change the family dynamics and a divorce can often split not only the family but the assets on which the family live and depend.
“Whether the path to the Tom/Natasha Post-Nuptial Agreement runs smoothly remains to be seen!”