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Is the uneven distribution of farms to children still common place?

  • 20-05-2023 2:50pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3

    A neighbour died recently and I heard that the son got all the farm and the daughter was left with nothing. I know in older days, it was considered the son would carry on the farm and the daughter would be wifed off to someone. Surely this is an outdated view point for modern day and farms should be divided if not evenly but fairly?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,238 ✭✭✭phormium

    I suppose the problem can be if you divide up a farm too much it becomes unviable as a business, fine if there were other assets like cash etc to pass on but if only the farm it's not always easy to be fair. To preserve the actual working farm you may need to leave it all to one person.

    Within past few years a relation of mine left land he owned to sons and nothing to daughter although she had received a site some years earlier, he was old in fairness and his attitude was that her husband would be getting inheritance on his side which would benefit her and of course he assumed his son's wives wouldn't be getting anything on their side either. Very outdated thinking but I suppose it depends on the age group you are dealing with. In this case the land wasn't farmed so kind of irrelevant as to the size of each holding as such, it must likely all be sold anyway for housing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    A son or daughter would have a case if they have not been adequately provided for.

    I know a man that lived with his mother and cared for her. She left him the house but one sister is contesting the will.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,427 ✭✭✭older by the day

    You heard? Is the son a farmer? Maybe the daughter got money or a house somewhere that you don't know they had. Maybe they educated the daughter and set her up. Maybe she doesn't want any land. I have six children and I won't split the land. It is supplying me with a good wage for 7/days a week work but if I split it, it would only be hobby farming. Have you more info of your story?

    Long go they split the farms evenly between the sons. It happened a million people starved to death and a million immigrated in about seven years

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,575 ✭✭✭✭patsy_mccabe

    There are 7 different cases that I know off in my area of disputes and legal problems over land and houses. In all of the cases, the problems have been caused my women who never did any of the work on the farms. Before anyone calls me a misogynist, I'm just stating fact.

    You can't divide a family farm. This isn't pre-famine Ireland. The only one that wins in these cases are solicitors.

    'The Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Galway, As they sailed beneath the Swastika to Spain'

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭Grueller

    A little like Patsy said, I got the family farm here, on a lifetime transfer from the parents. The siblings will get all other assets and any cash left I would assume.

    Thing is though, when I was helping my Dad calving cows winter nights, going to the yard for 2-3 hours after the day job most days, spending almost every Saturday helping out, where were my siblings?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,427 ✭✭✭older by the day

    Ya they talk about elder abuse , there was many a young fellow kept back by his parents. He was the taxi and their councillor listening to their problems. The girl friend they had were not suitable ect.ect. I know a few that are paying over a grand to nursing homes because they would not sign over the farm. These are extreme but some serve a hard apprenticeship before getting the farm

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭Grueller

    I know that's not what you are saying Older, but my parents were always more than fair with me that way. They encouraged alternative careers etc and never stck their noses in about girlfriends. I know one place where a nephew went to live with an aunt and uncle I'm a large farm. The uncle was grand and had a progressive outlook but the aunt was a bitter auld pill. She used the place to hold the nephew in check and even broke him and a fiance up. Unfortunately she lived 27 years longer than the uncle and never signed over but left it to a will. The nephew was 62 at the time and his life had been destroyed by the whole thing. He is a pure gent and would have been a fantastic husband and dad but that was prevented by her antics. For a finish she left it to him for his lifetime and even decided who it was to go to after him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,121 ✭✭✭screamer

    its common place and totally wrong. Sons farm the farm and daughters are expected to look after the elderly parents and they get nothing or at best a very unequal share. Being honest most of the lads I see left farms around here are the ones who can’t stand on their own two feet, it’s like the parents have to provide for them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,407 ✭✭✭Montage of Feck

    Splitting a farm between siblings is just utter stupidity. It never ends well, makes no business sense, never mind the inevitable resentment and bitterness that will ensue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭Grueller

    That's as stereotypical as the opening post. I have one son and one daughter. The most active farmer gets the place. Simple as.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,728 ✭✭✭accensi0n

    Mr. Feg strikes again

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,121 ✭✭✭screamer

    Well I hope you’ve provision made for your care in your old age and you won’t expect the less active farmer to be the most active care giver and leave them nothing but a “thank you”

    not being fair to the others in the family is what causes bitterness and resentment. How about parents instruct to sell it altogether and split the proceeds equally, oh Lord no, better to keep the family farm together and drive the farming family apart. I will never understand the mentality.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,170 ✭✭✭roosterman71

    Inheritance/signing over land is a bollox in so many cases and it cases ructions galore.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,789 ✭✭✭✭whelan2

    I don't see the attraction of "getting the farm" nowadays. Farming is hard work, throw in bitter siblings, who have been treated fairly and only breeze in every now and then to advise what you should be doing for your parents....

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,977 ✭✭✭blackbox

    Would it not have been fairer to pay you a proper wage for the work you did and then divide the inheritance equally?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,727 ✭✭✭GrasstoMilk

    A farm now a days is only a means of earning an income it’s not worth its value to the person that has been farming it

    i will get the farm here because I am the one that has had the interest and been bound by it since I left school

    my siblings never took an interest and there lives haven’t been dictated by it either. 9 -5 jobs, weekends, bank holidays off

    when it’s my turn to hand it on the child farming will get it be it my daughter or one of my sons. If they all want to farm I will help them, if no interest in farming I will help them in other areas like my parents did with my siblings

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,939 ✭✭✭suvigirl

    She can contest it all she wants, she probably won't get anything. Not being adequately provided for doesn't mean not leaving an inheritance for grown independent adults!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭Castlekeeper

    Not sure what use a farm is to anyone but a farmer, and there's rarely more than one in a family. Its more of a burden on anyone else. Farmers children generally get a good start and are well looked after .

    The farmer isn't going to sell it, so apart from having a job out of it along with responsibility, he's not going to benefit from the asset value, and the rest is just resentment and greed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,427 ✭✭✭older by the day

    I know the progressive farmer won't agree and by your post I understand your not a farmer. It's all about the land. Money is only paper and numbers on the screen. The other day I was calving a cow and got a phone call from the play school to see was I going to pick up the youngest. I was half an hour late. I would make the bull McCabe look like a hippy townie.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭Grueller

    Where did I say I won't look after the other sibling? A farmer can have more assets than agricultural ones.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    Yes, it will generally go to the child interested in farming, oldest gets considered first but if there not interested it will go to a younger siblíng. If the oldest son is interested in farming it will go to him. I know of cases where it has gone to the third son and to the daughter. In those cases the older son/sons were not interested. It avoids arguments mostly. The parents pay for childrens Education, give them a site to build on if they want it or any money left in the bank. The farm is a legacy/business to look after and keep within the family for whoever recieves it. It comes with quite a bit of reaponsibility and the farmer is the one who stays at home. Eldery parents etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    Selling the family farm is not acceptable. That would cause trouble. Land is generally only sold when a farmer dies without children and has no close family to take over. Sometimes sites will be sold to put children through education or to enable them to buy land somewhere more convienient. I do know two farmers with addiction problems. One was stopped from selling the land by family. He did try. The other sold some land but is now sober, so no more land is being sold.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    I’d say that’s not what happens usually ‘if they all want to farm i’ll help them’. Oldest male generally gets first dibs over younger siblings. From my experience if more than one are interested in farming the older sibling will get the farm. The younger interested one will get an ag qualification if clever and work for Teagasc or as a vet or in a related field. They might marry someone with land - generally not a plan but does happen. An uncle/relative without children will leave them some land as they have been helping them with farm work. They will save money and buy some land themselves.

    Generally unless they marry someone with a decent sized farm the other interested sibling will only have a small amount of land.

    Cases that I do know of. Two siblings interested. Went to the older interested sibling. Second interested sibling inherited half his uncles farm in his forties. So he is dabbling whereas his older brother is a full time farmer.

    Other case two siblings interested. Second sibling bought land and house that was not advertised from a relative when in his fifties. Both siblings farming but on low incomes. One is still paying back the land he got at a very reasonable price from family.

    Other case two siblings interested, one a girl, left to the oldest boy. Girl sibling bought land and old house in thirties. Dabbling as has less land than male sibling.

    Land is expensive so unless one inherits a reasonably sized parcel or grows veg on it one will be dabbling part-time. All second siblings above are on small acreages.

    I have never seen siblings given the farm in partnership to work together. One person will own it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    @screamer I would say that’s common with anyone with assets. They make sure the child that can’t look out for themselves is looked after. I’ve come across that in a suburban family when a single parent on a low income was gifted a mortgage free house by her parents. This was not the case for any other sibling. The more capable siblings looked after themselves. It’s often the case I think that those who say they’re all right and do well for themselves receive less inheritance.

    Regarding farmers who inherit. Those that l I know are very capable people bar one or two so I wouldn’t say that is the case at all. They have to be interested with a good work ethic from the get go.

  • Registered Users Posts: 745 ✭✭✭Pinsnbushings

    Farm and dwelling house is being transferred to me at the moment, and any residual assets my my parents will have left will go to my sibling. In fairness to them I've asked my brother a thousand times if he was ok with it and he feels he was well looked after by being allowed the freedom to go off and make his own life elsewhere.. he is of the opinion I made all the sacrifices and have earned the farm and that it would have held him back in life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    It is also often the case with business families also I’d say. A sibling will often inherit the business i.e. a pub, pharmacy, shop often with a mortgage free house or apartment with responsibilities and the others look after themselves. They do receive other assets but these are often very few and not even close to the value of assets received by inheriting sibling. Inheritance is often not equitable but as the parents / family see as the best option for the continuation of the business or in this case the farm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,479 ✭✭✭saabsaab

    As others have said it usually makes no sense to split a farm it won't be viable and all that would happen is that it will be all sold off. The most interested/active should get the land and the others a site/cash if there is any. Farming live isn't as attractive to most now anyway.

    To answer the question yes it is still commonplace and for a good reason.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,601 ✭✭✭Mooooo

    Unless someone is talking about their own situation 90% of what's out there is all hearsay. If possible the discussion should be had as a family before the will comes into play.

    What the parents want and need in the future and that all children are on board with the plan.

    Unfortunately there are very few farms that can be split and still be viable, so if one sibling is farming fulltime, splitting the farm can take his or her livelihood. Likewise if a discussion is had early enough if more than 1 wants to farm a plan can be put in place to expand or whatever to try and accommodate that.

    A lot of circumstances can come into play, someone outside may see one person get the farm and think the rest got nothing when that may not be the case. Farm may come with debt and extra financial responsibilities while others may have been helped in substantial ways.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    In farming families the decision is made by the parents when the children are teenagers generally. Farms are handed over well before any will if there are children.

    I have never seen a plan put in place if more than 1 wants to farm as generally the decision is made when the older sibling shows interest as a teenager and they are then given responsibilities and trained up basically. Decision made and the family is aware of this. It can change if said child changes their mind but they generally don’t as they are going to acquire a large asset and a house to live in. The options for a younger interested sibling or girl if boy is interested is possibly inheriting or buying from relatives that don’t have children. Parents don’t split land or give it in partnership. They encourage other children to pursue education or other careers.

    The decision is not made as a family including children but by parents on behalf of children. It’s not a round table discussion when people are in their twenties or thirties although it may be mentioned. The decision has been made well before that.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,601 ✭✭✭Mooooo

    Not always the case, as I said above. Sometimes sure but not as prevalent anymore