Farmers transfer homes to heirs to beat Fair Deal claim on assets
Farmers are growing increasingly concerned about losing their homes to the Fair Deal scheme and are seeking legal advice to transfer their homes to their heirs at a much younger age.
Aisling Meehan, an agricultural solicitor from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare, said she receives calls from farmers in their 50s and older, looking for solutions to stop the State claiming assets if they need nursing home care in future.
Ms Meehan (35) said that she's advising farmers to transfer their homes into the next generation's names but she said this has to be done five years before they go into a nursing home.
Many are doing this in their 50s, when the adult heir is in their 30s.
The tax consultant, who specialises in agricultural law, said there's "less" she can do for older farmers in or about to go into a nursing home, as the State looks for assets in a person's name as far back as five years.
"Some people can be very distressed," Ms Meehan told the Irish Independent. "Especially if they hear from friends or relatives affected by this (the scheme).
"If a person is in their 60s or 70s and if they have the mental capacity and want to transfer their farm, you can act on that instruction, but if the person is in need of nursing home care already or within the next five years, there's less that can be done."
Ms Meehan said the Fair Deal system was "unfair" and she encouraged farmers to "protect" themselves by researching the matter well in advance of their most senior years.