Denis Naughten TD has said that families must ensure they are in a position to designate a farm successor within the next three weeks to avail of the three-year cap on farm or business assets as a result of changes under the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme.
Changes in the law have seen the introduction of a three-year cap on nursing home charges against a farm or business asset.
The law was passed last July and will come into force by 22 October next due to an amendment put forward by Denis Naughten TD.
Naughten has said that families should “act now and ensure that they are ready to avail of this cap when it comes into force next month”.
The person in the nursing home must first formally designate their family successor and must also be able to confirm that either they or their partner or spouse has spent a substantial part of their working time on the farm before they went to long-term care.
Next, the family successor must commit to working the farm for 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,” he said.
Naughten, who sought the nursing home relief for family businesses or farms, cautioned: “Where the land has already been signed over, but is still being charged under the 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.
“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.
“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,” concluded Naughten.