Family Farm Succession Planning: Gathering Your Team

Family Farm Succession Planning: Gathering Your Team

Family farm succession planning is critical to ensuring that your family’s farm is passed to your heirs quickly, equitably and with minimal arguments or disruption to farm operations.

As a Dayton estate planner and farm estate planning lawyer, I’ve found that when planning for the future of a family farm, trusting in a team of advisors yields much better results than letting a single advisor handle every aspect of your succession plan.

Gathering a team of advisors from differing disciplines provides different perspectives of what is best for your farm and your family. Collaborating together, your team of advisors and you can develop a complete estate and succession plan that accomplishes all of these primary goals:

  • Ensure passing of the family farm to the trustworthy child or children most interested in keeping it going and capable of doing so
  • Ensure that other children and heirs receive equitable portions of your estate or will be compensated for their share in the farm
  • Avoid the farm going into probate, where succession is likely to be delayed and some value of the estate will be consumed by probate costs
  • Eliminate estate taxes and minimize income taxes

Your Team of 3 for Successful Family Farm Succession Planning

My experience as a Dayton estate planner has shown me that the most successful family farm succession planning teams are comprised of these three key individuals:

  • Asset protection and farm estate planning lawyer— This advisor will suggest strategies for protecting your family farm with trusts and corporate structures and prepare the documents for these legal entities
  • Certified public accountant (CPA) — This advisor assists with investment strategies and arranging accounts to ensure:
    • Compensation for heirs not taking an active part in the farm
    • Access to farm income for you while you’re alive and for your heirs after you’ve passed
    • Insurance agent — This advisor takes an active role in protecting the farm against catastrophic loss and identifying insurance-related assets that will expand your estate and benefit your heirs.

Successful family farm succession planning requires that your team of advisors be able to work collaboratively and keep your goals at the forefront of discussion. Advisors who don’t get along, bicker or put their own agenda or self-importance ahead of yours will yield expensive but ineffective farm estate planning. A lawyer, CPA and insurance agent familiar with each other and each other’s methods often provides the best result, usually with less time, and therefore less cost, involved for everyone.

As a Dayton estate planner, I’ve developed strong working relationships with CPA’s and insurance agents throughout Dayton and Ohio. I invite you to give my office a call and arrange a free initial consultation to see what we can offer in the way of family farm succession planning that meets your goals. Call my office toll-free at 1-877-483-6730.