Ohio Farm Business and Estate Planning

Ohio Farm Business and Estate Planning

Recent research indicates that over one-fourth of all farmers and ranchers, and half of all agricultural landlords, are over 65 years of age. At the same time, available data suggests that only a small percentage of ranchers and farmers have an estate plan that adequately provides for the future of their land and operations.

For farmers, ranchers, and landowners, the family farm is a symbol of their heritage, and often their life's work. Preserving this for the next generation presents unique challenges that can be met successfully with the right kind of guidance and preparation. Without adequate planning, years of effort may go to waste and family relationships can be irreparably damaged.

As a farmer, you're accustomed to planning ahead for the needs of your farm from season to season and year to year. It's time to consider the benefits of planning for the future of your family farm into the next generation.

Estate Planning for Ohio Family Farms: Protecting Your Family's Future, and Your Own

There are many concerns for farm families as the current farming generation ages and passes on. These include:

  • The need for the current farming generation to receive skilled nursing care as they age, which could result in the need to sell the farm to pay for care;
  • A lack of liquidity, which could result in the need to sell the farm or significant farm assets to pay income, death, or estate taxes;
  • The likelihood that some heirs will want to continue working on the farm, while others will wish to pursue different careers, resulting in concerns about equalizing gifts among heirs and about the future of the farm operation;
  • Preserving harmony among family members while ensuring the continued successful operation of the farm;
  • The risk that heirs who do take over the agricultural operation are not adequately prepared to do so;
  • The prospect that the farm or its assets will be reached by creditors or lawsuits;
  • The expense and complexity of probate.

If you're like most farming families, you understand the importance of planning for the future, but you haven't gotten around to developing a distribution plan for your Ohio farm. The agricultural life has many demands, and you may simply feel too busy to address the needs of the far-off future when so much needs to be done today. Fortunately, with the right help, estate planning for your farm is much simpler and less time-consuming than you might imagine.

At Gudorf Law Group, we understand that estate planning for family farms and agricultural operations means more than just arranging for the transfer of property from one generation to another. It means preserving assets so that the current generation can have security and get the care they need as they age, without jeopardizing the future of the farm and the livelihood of their heirs.

Ohio Farm Business and Estate Planning Attorneys with a Unique Approach

Depending on your needs and circumstances and those of your heirs, there are a number of ways to plan for the future of your family farm, ranch, or agricultural operation. At Gudorf Law Group, we take a unique approach to farm planning which draws from many areas of the law and is designed to address all of your concerns for your farm and family.

As estate planning attorneys, we arrange the transfer of assets from one generation to another. Unlike other estate planning firms, however, our service is both broader and deeper. With our experience in elder law, we protect family farms and agricultural operations from nursing home expenses that would drain all of a family's assets, including the farm, to pay for care. We have an extensive background in asset protection law, allowing us to shield your farm from lawsuits and creditors. We use our knowledge of tax law to eliminate or reduce the tax burden on your estate.

Gudorf Law Group employs a number of devices, including limited liability companies, irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, special use valuations, and more to protect family farms in Ohio and Indiana. As a counseling-oriented firm, we believe in educating our clients about tactics to maximize the value of their farm for themselves and their families, and then putting into place the full range of protections they need. We invite you to explore our farm estate planning blog to learn more, and to contact one of our farm estate planning attorneys for a complimentary consultation.