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Gildernew encourages farmers to plan for the future ownership of their business

13 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has launched a new advisory leaflet, 'Succession Planning and Probate'.

This leaflet demonstrates her commitment to ensuring that farm businesses do not encounter any avoidable delays in DARD payments following the death of the Head of Business.

Speaking at the launch of the leaflet the Minister said:

"The farming unions raised the issue of delays in DARD payments following the death of the farm business owner. I fully understand that bereavement is a difficult time for every family but my department cannot make any payments pending a legal decision as to who is entitled to receive payment."

The Minister went on to point out the importance of seeking professional advice on making and regularly updating a will to ensure that delays in payments and disputes within families are avoided. She said: "I appreciate that passing on ownership of the farm business can be a contentious issue and there is therefore a temptation to delay making a decision."

However, she pointed out:

"Failure to make legal arrangements for the future ownership of your farm business may jeopardise the future viability of the business and can compound the grief that a family is already trying to cope with. In response to the concerns raised by the unions, I instructed officials to produce an advisory leaflet highlighting the benefits involved in making a will and the risks involved in not making one. Copies of this leaflet 'Succession Planning for Farmers' are now available at all DARD offices and online."

The Minister took the opportunity of the launch to thank representatives from the farming unions for their comments on the leaflet.

Notes to editors

The Minister launched the 'Succession Planning for Farmers' advisory leaflet at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Copies of the leaflet are available from DARD offices and at and

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