News In Focus
Succession warning to crofting families
20 September 2012
Crofting tenants may need to do more than simply make a will to ensure that their holding is passed on to future generations, the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has warned.
The advice follows the experience of a member who was threatened with the loss of his croft to fund the residential care costs of his elderly mother. Although the crofter had worked the croft for over 20 years and it was an important part of his livelihood, it remained in his mother’s name until a year before she went into care. The local authority claimed that, despite the assignation, the croft was the lady’s financial asset for the purposes of assessing her liability for care home charges.
The family had not seen the need to arrange an assignation at an earlier stage as their mother’s will made clear her intentions. However the SCF is now urging crofters to make arrangements for their succession without delay.
Vice chair Fiona Mandeville said: “We strongly urge crofters to consider whether they could be caught in this trap. We know of cases where crofts remain nominally in the hands of very elderly people while providing homes and income for younger relatives. These people could be faced with losing their crofts due to a very harsh interpretation of Government guidelines on the part of certain councils. If the councils had any sense of the history around crofting they wouldn’t be doing this. The best advice is to sort out your croft succession and to do it now."