ESTATE PLAN AND CONTINUATION OF FARM PLAN
No doubt that anymore the running of a family farm is much like running a small business with other family members intimately involved. Often enough the continuation of the family farm requires that the current and main farmer, much like the ‘president and CEO’ of a small business, think ahead and plan for the transition of the farm to the next generation. Unlike a small business, however, the planning for the transition of a farm involves a recognition of a tradition that does not usually come into play with the transition of a small business. The issue of tradition is something that even the best lawyer in the world cannot advise you on. But a lawyer can help bring form to your intentions, so that when you do pass on the torch to the next generation it will be smooth and seamless. It requires the he use of traditional estate planning tools, including a combination of tools such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney or any other legal device or document, as deemed best by you in consultation with your estate planning attorney.
In addition, transition of the farm requires you to have a business succession plan, as the farm, just like a small business, is almost assuredly a legal entity. Family owned and operated farms pass from generation to generation much less than tradition would have you believe. Only approximately 30 percent of family run businesses successfully transition from one generation to the next. It is likely that because of this statistic that those in attendance at the 2016 American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention and IDEAg convention held this year in Orlando, Florida in January heard speeches in regards to the wisdom of creating a farm or business succession plan coupled with proper estate planning to insure the continued viability of family farms.