We would like to place strictly necessary cookies and performance cookies on your computer to improve our website service.
To find out more about how we use cookies and how you can change your cookies settings, please read our  cookies statement.                
Otherwise, we'll assume you are OK to continue.   Please close this message

Rural Business & Landed Estates

Farms, rural businesses and landed estates face age-old challenges relating to succession, death and divorce.

However, they also face new challenges which range from new taxes (and reform of old taxes) to the changing economic environment. These challenges are often little different from those faced by owners of other private, multi-faceted and labour intensive businesses.

The Charles Russell Speechlys Rural Business & Landed Estates group acts for a broad spectrum of land owning clients, from the farmer client looking to consolidate his business and to reduce his Inheritance Tax exposure, to diverse, multi-business landed estates. They have many common concerns but these will be set against distinctive personal and family backdrops. Our role is to understand these and tailor our advice accordingly. Above all else we pride ourselves on being practical and commercial.

We provide our clients with a full range of services. These include:

  • conveyancing for the purchase or sale of land, country houses, cottages and estates
  • agricultural law
  • tax efficient-management of heritage assets
  • tax and estate planning, including advising on Wills, Powers of Attorney and planning using trusts, be those new or existing ones, and alternative vehicles to trusts such as partnerships
  • development planning for land where there is or there is the potential for planning permission and development, together with specialist land promotion and planning teams
  • family law advice for when relationships break down
  • structuring (or re-structuring) of land holdings to support current or new business practices, and to plan for the transfer to the next generation, and
  • employment law and litigation advice with a particular emphasis on the concerns and experiences of the rural community.

We provide a sympathetic, commercial and highly experienced approach to dealing with the farming, rural and landed estate communities. The Charles Russell Speechlys team has been advising these communities for generations.


Sale of one of the UK’s largest farming companies

Sale of a farming company with a very significant land holding, as well as development land and residential accommodation for in excess of £40m. Having impressed the purchasers, we were appointed by the directors of the purchasing company in relation to future legal work.

Purchase of a substantial Oxfordshire agricultural estate

A highly confidential purchase of an agricultural estate with numerous land law and water rights complexities.

Mixed advice to a large landed estate

We advised the owner of a large landed estate, his executors and the trustees of his Will Trusts in relation to, amongst other things, inheritance tax planning through careful Will drafting and a major trust reorganisation involving agricultural and business property, making appropriate provision for the surviving spouse, the tax treatment of disposals of valuable chattels, property sales and a significant and valuable dispute with neighbouring landowner.

Balfour tax planning review and implantation of planning report

We recently took over as solicitors to a substantial Midlands estate including a large scale Balfour inspired Inheritance Tax and trust review. This included a specific task of reviewing the trust entity owning chattels worth circa £40m.

Agricultural tenancies

We were recently instructed to acquire a farm bordering a client's estate. Among other matters, the due diligence exercise included reviews of existing agricultural tenancies (both AHA and FBT) and advice on how to integrate the new farm into the existing estate structure and farming operations. We also advised on VAT and the "transfer as a going concern" relief.

Land promotion

We advised a major institutional landowner on securing planning permission for a number of urban extensions in Ashford, Ely and Carlisle, involving over 3000 new homes and community facilities, with the subsequent sale of the land to house builders.


We have recently reached a mediated settlement in relation to a long running trust dispute (for which we developed a tax-efficient strategy to restructure the estate) and we have been involved in all aspects of its implementation. In addition to our strategic tax and trust advice, we deal with all significant decisions about the operational management of the estate.

Inheritance tax planning

We implemented, over seven years, an inheritance tax planning exercise (to prevent the loss of agricultural property relief) relating to an estate in England (including a manor house, significant chattels, a church and a farm).