Dear Miriam,

I am in my early 40s and have lived at home and worked on the family farm since leaving school. I went to agricultural college after my Leaving Certificate. Farming is my life and I love it. My problem is that the entire property is still in my parent’s name. They are both in their late 70s now and keep promising that they will sign it over to me, but so far nothing has happened.

I am starting to feel anxious now in case something might happen to them and they could die intestate. That would leave me in a very difficult situation as I have three other siblings, all working and living away from home.

They have never shown any interest in the land or indeed the family home, but I know issues can arise if a will is not put into place. What can I do to resolve my anxiety and uncertainty? Do I talk to them or just hope for the best?

As you can imagine, it is not an easy conversation to have, especially at their age.

By the way, I am single so I do not have a wife or children to worry about at this time.

Thank you.

Anxious Farmer in the West

Dear Reader,

Thank you for getting in touch. I have noted your dilemma and yes, I agree, it is a difficult conversation to have with your parents.

The reality is, though, that you need to have it and the sooner, the better. You have a right to know where you stand and you need to see proof of it. It is not so much what you say, but how you say it. Explain to them that you love the work and love being with them, but you are worried about the consequences should something happen to them and you are left to sort things out with your other siblings.

Make a will

It can be easier to make a will when one is young and healthy. Perhaps their fear of dying, of facing their mortality, is what truly holds them back. It may help to speak with a solicitor before speaking with them and have your facts right. They really need to honour their promise to you so that you can continue to work and enjoy it.

If you decide to keep working away, hoping for the best, and nothing changes, remember it is a choice you made and you will have to live with the consequences.

Should the situation remain the same, remember you have choices. You can seek employment elsewhere and walk away from the farm and false promises. It is not an easy step to take, but the last thing you need is for your parents to die intestate and have the whole sordid mess of dealing with their affairs. If you decide to keep working away, hoping for the best, and nothing changes, remember it is a choice you made and you will have to live with the consequences.

Do not ever imagine that because you have only known the farming life up to now that you are limited to that kind of work for the rest of your life. You can be whoever you want to be. Never allow self-limiting beliefs to hold you back. If the situation is really getting you down, it may also help to speak with a counsellor. Counselling offers a safe and confidential space where you can discuss your problems and look more objectively at life. Your therapist will support and guide you as you ponder your future and explore other options of employment that will bring you fulfillment and security.

I wish you the very best.

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