Planning your farm legacy is a very personal process. The plan involves all your financial information, as well as all the family dynamics that go into running a family farm. Laying it all on the table and dealing with the reality of tax laws is the only way to make wise decisions for the future.
Set goals Determine exactly what you want to accomplish with your farm legacy. The questions you need to ask are sensitive and affect everyone you care about, so it is important to be very clear on your goals. How will you support yourself in case of a medical emergency? Who makes business decisions if you are ill? Who inherits your farm? How will you provide for your spouse or dependent children?
Inventory assets Develop a personal financial inventory. List all the business and personal assets you possess and what they are worth. List your debts. Learn the current fair market value of your land. In order to make plan, you need an accurate account of your financial worth.
Determine ownership Be clear on who owns what. Do not assume. If necessary, look up titles and documents to check if property is owned jointly. Problems can arise when wills and documents do not match.
Assemble a team You need a team of people that you are confident are capable and trustworthy. This could include members of your family, an attorney, tax advisor, lender or farm management. There are many steps to a proper farm legacy and it takes time so choose people who are willing to work with you long term.
Few things are more important than honesty, keeping accurate, well organized records and working with professionals you can trust. Contact us to learn more.