Farmers who enter a nursing home will pay charges calculated on the entire value of their farm for three years only, according to draft legislation adopted by the Government this Tuesday.

This is on the condition that a family successor continues to farm the land for at least six years. The new rules for the scheme also specify that the family successor must have been working regularly on the farm for “a substantial part of his or her working day” for three out of the five years prior to their relative entering the nursing home.

The same conditions apply to other family businesses outside farming.

Annual charge

If these conditions are met, the annual charge worth 7.5% of the value of the entire farm will end after three years. Otherwise, the existing rule will continue to apply, with the charge continuing indefinitely as long as the original farmer remains in care.

All property remains exempt from nursing home charges if it has been transferred to a successor at least five years before the farmer enters a nursing home. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said this was still “the most financially prudent approach”.

Three-year limit

Charges paid in the past under the Fair Deal scheme will count towards the three-year limit once the changes become law.

The bill must now go through both houses of the Oireachtas before it comes into force.

“This agreement from Government is a big step towards reducing the stress and uncertainty experienced by family farm and small business owners and their future generations, helping to keep the family farm and business running and contributing to local communities,” said Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly.

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