Succession planning with a farm to consider can create different estate planning needs than an average estate plan. For that reason, estate planners who are planning on passing on a farm should be familiar with the estate planning and succession planning steps for estate planners with a farm.
The steps for estate planning with a farm
Farm families should consider several steps when estate planning including:
- Set goals for the succession planning process and communicate those goals with family, including on-farm family and off-farm family members. Estate planners and farmers should gather and examine paperwork including deeds, land titles and insurance documents. It is important to determine if assets are titled in a way that will allow the estate planner to achieve the goals they have set for their succession plan for the farm.
- Review what plans are already in place and what tools are already available to the estate planner. The estate planner should consider if certain property should be gifted or if lease agreements can be set up to help them meet their succession planning and estate planner goals. Because the process can be complex, it can be helpful to have trained guidance throughout.
- Know the law that applies to the estate planner’s goals. The estate planner should be familiar with the requirements for estate planning but also with laws that may impact their goals for their estate and succession planning such as relevant tax laws.
Setting up a succession plan for the farm can help alleviate some of the stress, worry and pressure on loved ones and family members during a difficult time. It can also help achieve the goals for the farmer which is why they should be familiar with how to use the estate planning process to meet their goals.