I have been working on our family farm for 25 years for little return. Farm does carry a debt. Can the farm be made over to me and Dad get pension? Dad is 81 and wants to still live in his own house on the farm. His only income is from the farm at the moment.
Andy, Great Western, VIC
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Thank you for your inquiry – and it is kind and thoughtful of you considering livelihood and financial independence of the "old man".
From the preliminary descriptions of the circumstances, and supposedly that your father may have attempted to apply for age pension, I would presume your farm land has more than one title (a separate house obviously), over 2 hectares and yourself and dad are primary producers and therefore not exempt from asset test.
Generally speaking, if the process of making the farm over to you is “mere gift” will still fall “inclusive” under asset test – in other words, even if dad sells the property to you in an arm’s length arrangement he would still receive a lump sum, and hence the provision.
There are some allowances that may be permissible and applied to your circumstance under allowance for forgone wages or benefits that you may want to explore.
You have mentioned, you have worked the land for little return, may be it is worthwhile to think about
- Have you done any unpaid farm work after age of 15
- Have you cared for dad or you still do?
- And improvement you have done to your farming business, i.e. work, keeping books
Once you quantify that (which there is a guide line for it) then that may be the “consideration” for transferring the farm to you – and you should also account for an implications for when and if you inheriting the farm.
You should also consider how the farm is currently held, and who controls that entity and ownership rights (if it’s not held in dad’s name individually)
I hope this can give you some context to set your objectives and dad’s.
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