Few firms of lawyers act for more landed estates in England and Wales than Hunters – and we increasingly act for families with more far flung landed interests – in Scotland, Ireland, continental Europe, the USA and further afield.
Advising well on landed estates is a specialist skill, needing a clear understanding of your priorities, the opportunities and challenges you face, and how to make the best of what you have, enabling a successful and profitable (family) business.
Principally, we are lawyers, and the subject requires a broad range of legal expertise – in estate, trust and tax planning; in property and agricultural law; in employment law; in development and planning; in heritage law and management; in dispute resolution; in varying business structures; in joint ventures; in pre and post nuptial agreements; and in fine art.
There is also a constant need to manage a wide range of personal and professional relationships with sensitivity and care. It is rare for such work to be on a ‘one-off’ basis, and we have been retained by most of our clients over successive generations, not least because management of their assets requires continuity and consistency of approach coupled with perceptive long-term thinking.
We are one of the leading providers of legal advice in this sector, ranking second in the Legal 500 2013 and recommended in Chambers 2014.
The Rural Land & Business and Landed Estates practice is an important core activity of the firm and most of the firm’s fee-earners are involved in advising on an aspect of the affairs of our rural and landed estate clients. We pride ourselves on the continuity of our service, so that successive generations of our clients can look to us with confidence to help resolve the variety of problems that arise throughout their lives.
Hunters act for the owners of some 90 Landed Estates, which include a mixture of tenanted and in hand farms, spread across the whole country from Northumberland to Cornwall and Norfolk to Wales. A number include heritage property, and several embrace houses which are open to the public and are home to chattels which are subject to Revenue undertakings. In a number of cases the ownership structure is complicated, and some comprise property held subject to Strict Settlements.
However, key to this sector is the family business. The challenges, commercial pressures, emotions, external factors and passions/interests that drive rural business and landed estates are well understood by us.