Placing farm property in a trust-owned limited liability company (LLC) is often a key component of protecting a family farm against estate tax laws, creditors, law suits, nursing homes and other risks so it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations. Specifically, the LLC holding your farm property must be owned by an irrevocable trust.
If you’re a farmer in Ohio, undoubtedly you’ve worked hard for the success of that farm and you want that hard work to benefit your family for many generations to come. Unfortunately, state and federal estate tax laws, debt obligations, nursing homes and other factors can put your farm at risk upon your death if proper succession planning is not in place.
While proper succession planning consists of many parts, an important part is often to create an irrevocable trust to own the LLC holding your Ohio or Dayton real estate. A lawyer can help you with this by drawing up the necessary legal documents that form the irrevocable trust, designate the beneficiaries, and describe what is to happen to the property and LLC upon your death.
By placing your farm property in a trust-owned LLC, the property becomes owned by the LLC, which is a legal entity just like a corporation, rather than being owned by you. Since you don’t own it any more, the property is protected from many forms of debt and lawsuits. The irrevocable trust that owns the LLC adds another layer of protection and ensures that the LLC and property it holds is passed on to your chosen beneficiaries.
To more fully protect your Ohio or Dayton real estate, a lawyer with expertise in estate planning and business law can draft legal documents to create limited liability corporations, insurance trusts and other entities that work together to protect your farming business and personal assets for inheritance by your family.
Farm property in a trust-owned LLC can also avoid estate taxes. Estate tax law usually takes effect when property transfers to the beneficiaries. However, the legal documents for your irrevocable trust can specify that your beneficiaries can make use of the property while ownership is retained by the irrevocable trust and the LLC. Since the property is never transferred to the beneficiaries, estate tax laws never come into play.
Placing property in a trust-owned limited liability company is just one tool used to minimize estate taxes and other risks to your Ohio or Dayton real estate. A lawyer knowledgeable in succession planning and estate planning can show you additional ways to help you prepare a complete succession plan for your farm.