Estate planning for farmers is different than it is for other people, since the focus must be on who will inherit the farm.
When farmers get older, they start worrying about what will happen to the farm, after they pass away. Many would like to keep the farm in the family.
Sometimes farmers only have one child and that child would like to take over the farm. However, most of the time, farmers have multiple children. One, all or none of the children may have any interest in the farm. That makes planning seem difficult, but in reality, there are only three steps to consider, as Agriculture.com discusses in "3 Steps To Succession Planning."
The steps include:
- Communicate with family members about what you want to happen to your farm after you pass away and figure out what your family expects to happen. This is especially important when children are not interested in farming, so their inheritance expectations can be known and taken into account.
- Try to determine what tools are available to meet your goals. If you can modify a lease agreement to help meet your goals, then that may be an available tool.
- The last thing to do is to determine your legal options. This is where a good estate planning attorney comes into play. The attorney will listen to your goals and figure how to meet them. What that will look like, will vary because every family farm is different.
Reference: Agriculture.com (March 8, 2018) "3 Steps To Succession Planning."
If you own a ranch, then having an estate plan is essential to making sure that it stays in your family. Getting a plan does not have to be as complicated as you might think it is.
Some of the most important legal documents a rancher can have are the documents that make up the rancher’s estate plan. They are the documents that determine how the ranch will be passed on to the next generation or whether it will have to be sold.
Despite this, many ranchers put off getting estate plans, if they get them at all.
That is unfortunate because estate planning does not have to be very difficult for ranchers if they break the process down into simple steps, as the Huntsville Item explains in “Estate planning and the family ranch.”
The steps are:
- Start a conversation with your family about what to do with the ranch after you pass away. This will help determine which of your relatives might want a stake in the ranch and make sure that everyone in the family is on the same page.
- After talking with your family, decide what your objectives are for the ranch and what you would like to see happen to it.
- Gather all of your important financial documents.
- Choose an experienced estate planning attorney that you are comfortable with and have the attorney draw up an estate plan that meets your objectives.
- After your estate plan is complete, make sure that you keep it updated whenever circumstances change.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you keep the ranch in the family or otherwise pass without a hitch.
Reference: Huntsville Item (July 31, 2016) “Estate planning and the family ranch.”