Carmarthen Journal - - Farmer -

MY cousin and I are go­ing into busi­ness to­gether on a small farm. We have a clear idea of how we will split the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­tween us but we want to get the le­gal­i­ties right, so we don’t have dis­putes down the line. What do we need to do? SET­TING up a farm busi­ness part­ner­ship can be sat­is­fy­ing. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to lay the cor­rect ground­work when struc­tur­ing your busi­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, many busi­ness and farm clients seek help once is­sues have al­ready arisen within a part­ner­ship that hasn’t been for­malised, and deal­ing with is­sues af­ter the fact is more com­plex than putting safe­guard­ing mea­sures in place be­fore you em­bark on your ven­ture.

If you are start­ing a busi­ness it is likely that is­sues will arise at some point. How­ever, these is­sues will not nec­es­sar­ily put you or your busi­ness at risk if you have the pro­tec­tion of a for­mal, le­gal agree­ment that has been drawn up by a le­gal pro­fes­sional. In these un­cer­tain times this is a par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant course of ac­tion for farm part­ner­ships, where fam­ily loy­al­ties of­ten vie for at­ten­tion with com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tions.

A part­ner­ship agree­ment can help you for­malise:

■ 1 Rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of each part­ner

■ 2 The du­ra­tion of the part­ner­ship and whether part­ners can be added or re­moved

■ 3 What the busi­ness as­sets are and what con­tri­bu­tions are re­quired from the part­ners

■ 4 How de­ci­sions be­tween the part­ners are made

■ 5 How the part­ner­ship can be ended and who gets what at that time

■ 6 What hap­pens when cir­cum­stances change

All of these points are im­por­tant, and, just as with any other busi­ness ven­ture, you need safe­guards in place in or­der to avoid dis­putes that could cost you and your farm dear.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Al­ice Dear­den Cob­bett on 01267 234 022 or email: al­ice. dear­den­cob­[email protected]­so­lic­i­ The ques­tion posed is based upon a hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. Welsh is spo­ken in JCP Solic­i­tors’ Car­marthen of­fice.

In our Ask The Le­gal Ex­pert col­umn we get the lat­est spe­cial­ist ad­vice on a ru­ral mat­ter from JCP Solic­i­tors. This month Al­ice Dear­den Cob­bett, an As­so­ciate So­lic­i­tor with JCP’s Ru­ral Prac­tice Team, talks about the im­por­tance, for farm­ers, of mak­ing sure they get the ground­work right when en­ter­ing into part­ner­ships

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