We advise a broad range of estate and landowners, from new buyers of farms and estates to institutional and international investors in rural property, entrepreneurs, farmers and owners of historic estates.

Our track record in this sector speaks for itself. Our large team of specialist lawyers understands the technical, commercial and often personal requirements of individuals and organisations investing in land as an asset.

We understand the people, relationships and issues at the heart of owning rural land and estates. Our exceptional expertise helps our clients to make the most of their existing interests and new opportunities for diversifying into innovative land uses, such as livestock, leisure, tourism or renewable energy.

Our longstanding relationships with land agents and professional advisers throughout the UK and overseas ensures each of our clients receives a seamless, holistic service.

We have published The Pink Book 2, Burges Salmon’s legal 'bible' for landowners and farmers. The book covers topics as diverse as buying, selling and developing farmland, estate planning, trusts and partnerships, planning and employment law and is free to download.

Areas of focus

Our expertise for estates and landowners includes the following:

  • Tax planning and wealth structuring – succession and generational change planning, transactional and land tax, wills, probate and matrimonial issues and trusts.
  • Tax and estate planning, including advising on wills, powers of attorney and planning using trusts (whether new or existing) and alternative vehicles such as companies or partnerships.
  • Heritage property advice including use of heritage reliefs, claims for conditional exemption, acceptance in lieu and the creation and management of heritage maintenance funds.
  • Rural property transactions – tenancies and sales, purchases, mortgages and development.
  • Dispute resolution – land occupation and ownership, notices to quit and other tenancy issues, partnership and trust disputes, commercial contract disputes.
  • Environmental and regulatory – contamination and compliance.
  • Planning and compulsory purchase – obtaining and contesting planning consents, development opportunities and compulsory requisition.
  • Renewable energy – development and financing including wind, solar, biomass, biofuels and AD.
  • Business and corporate – including partnership and company structures, corporate governance and joint ventures.
  • Finance, restructuring, and insolvency – taking and enforcing security, charging assets and advice to distressed businesses.
  • Employment – including restructuring, redundancies, executive severance, disciplinary procedures, discrimination issues and tribunal and High Court litigation.
  • Commercial contracts and protection of rights.
  • Development and planning work including the use of pooling structures.
  • Family law advice as part of wealth structuring and when relationships break down.

We are the retained advisers to many estates and rural land owners around the country. The extent of our involvement depends upon the complexity of the clients' affairs and the clients' preferences.

Acting for a client on the purchase of a country estate via an offshore trust which needed to structure the future management of the agricultural, equestrian and shooting activities on the estate to enable trading activity to take place through a UK company for tax purposes.

Advising a new client estate on achieving a "Balfour" balance in its trading and investment activities to maximise the IHT relief position.

Providing tax, partnership and succession advice on the partition of a large dairy business with assets in the UK and New Zealand.

Advising a group of farmers on a land pooling structure to maximise the development potential of their combined land whilst preserving their choices for claiming CGT rollover and entrepreneurs' relief.

Advising a tenant on a series of surrenders of a protected agricultural tenancy in return for a new farm business tenancy which permitted the landlord to carry out gravel extraction works on successive parts whilst enabling the tenant to continue her agricultural and equestrian business activities.

Acting for the Co-operative Group on the sale of its farming operation known as Farmcare, together with over 17,000 acres of land in England and Scotland, for £247 million. The sale included several wind farms, imposed overage provisions on parts of the property, and involved the transfer of employment contacts and pension rights as well as contractual rights to farm a further 21,000 acres.

Acting for a high net worth overseas investor in rural land on complex agricultural tenancy issues, including contested succession applications and grants of secure tenancies, sub-lettings and licences.

Acting for a client in claims against his deceased father's estate for ownership of agricultural land promised to him but left to other family members and in a succession application of land let under a secure agricultural tenancy.

Meet the team
Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming
Jim Aveline

Jim Aveline Partner

  • Private Client Services
  • Family Offices and Family Businesses
  • Food and Farming
Kevin Kennedy

Kevin Kennedy Partner

  • Estates and Land
  • Private Wealth
  • Agricultural Disputes
Emma Folkes

Emma Folkes Partner

  • Head of Rural Property
  • Estates and Land
  • Food and Farming
Ross Simpson

Ross Simpson Partner

  • Real Estate
  • Estates and Land
  • Food and Farming

What others say...

The firm has strength across the various teams we work with in handling these matters, both at a senior level and in depth within the team.

Chambers UK 2024

Key contact

Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming

Turning good into great: Insights into effective philanthropy

Download your copy of Getting to Net Zero: the role of rural land

Moving to the UK: a practical guide

Subscribe to news and insight

Burges Salmon careers

We work hard to make sure Burges Salmon is a great place to work.
Find out more