Local Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten, has urged families to ensure they are in a position to designate the farm successor within the next six weeks to avail of the three year cap on farm or business assets due to changes under the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme.
Changes in the law introducing a three-year cap on nursing home charges against a farm or business asset, that were passed last July, will come into force by October 22 next as a result of an amendment put forward by the local Independent Deputy.
However, Denis Naughten cautioned families that they need to “act now and ensure that they are ready to avail of this cap when it comes into force next month”.
Firstly, the person in the nursing home must formally designate their family successor as well as being in a position to confirm that either they or their partner/spouse spent a substantial part of their working time on the farm or in the business before they went into long term care.
Secondly, the family successor must commit to working the farm or business for a period of six years beginning on the date of his or her appointment by the person in the nursing home.
“In most instances this should be straightforward but it’s important to plan for it now rather than waiting until the new law comes into force, in case there are issues that need to be clarified, which could delay being able to access this relief.
“Where the land has already been signed over but is still being charged the under nursing home support scheme, the new owner of the farm or business asset is obliged to consent to a charging order being registered against the asset.
“In such cases there may be a need to secure an additional consent from a lender which may result in additional nursing home charges being applied against the farm or business until all the paperwork is lodged.
“There are a number of steps that need to be taken to avail of this relief and at this stage families may not be aware of potential pitfalls in their circumstances. As a result, there is likely to be a demand for professional advice when the new law comes into force with more complicated cases taking time to resolve.
“I would therefore urge families to seek professional advice on what they need to do now to make sure that they are fully compliant with the new law, rather than wait because the Government refused to accept my proposal to have these measures backdated.
“As a result, this means that every week a family delays in being able to avail of the new relief a further charge of 0.14% will be placed against the capital value of the family farm or business asset,” Deputy Naughten concluded.