Agriculture is the backbone of our nation. Without it, everything we know and love would likely collapse. So how do you preserve the legacy of your family farm? How do you ensure that it succeeds to the next generation without falling victim to the numerous challenges? The task is not easy, but it can be done. The following explains further, and provides you with some key information on where to turn for help with your farm succession estate plan.
Succession Plans and Family Dynamics
One of the most common oversights in farm succession plans is how family dynamics will impact the future ownership and operations. As an example, if parents leave the farm to a child who does not have the knowledge, desire, or resources to take on the task, there could be issues on the horizon. Further, if siblings are unable to work together in a productive way, parents should take this into account. Above all else, be as realistic as possible about the limitations and strengths of each possible successor.
Your estate planning attorney should be sensitive to such issues, and they should ask you questions that go beyond the business aspect of your farm. They should emphasize the impact of family dynamics, and they should work to understand how yours may impact the future of your farm.
Planning an Inheritance that is Fair, Not Equal
As a parent, you are more likely to be emotional about your inheritance decisions. Unfortunately, this can lead to some problematic decisions. If, for example, you have a child that has no desire to help run the farm, has left and not contributed since leaving, and is unlikely to contribute after your death, the inheritance you leave behind should reflect that. It is not being cruel, nor is it failing to recognize the bond that you share with this child. Instead, by taking a fair, not equal approach, you are doing what you can to protect the future of your farm. You are taking into consideration the years of hard work that you and any remaining children have put into it.
Building a Succession Team
Because the transfer of a farm is often a multi-layered and complex process, it is critical to ensure that you have a good team on your side. This may include a family council to ensure that successors learn the family business, inside and out, but it should also include the assistance of a skilled estate planning lawyer. You may also need to seek assistance from other professionals, such as an accountant. Your attorney can guide you on determining who may bring the most benefit to your succession team.
Contact Our Milwaukee Estate Planning Attorneys
When the future of your family business is on the line, it is critical that you seek an attorney who is willing to put your interests first. Our Milwaukee, Wisconsin estate planning attorneys are prepared to do just that. Dedicated and experienced, we can help devise a creative succession plan to fit your needs. Schedule your consultation with the Law Office of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C. to learn more. Call us at 414-321-9733 today.