The Farm Belongs to Whom?
Assume that mother and father have managed the family farm for many years. They are getting older now, however, and they are considering moving into a smaller place. One of the daughters and her husband run the farm, but the others have moved away and aren’t interested in returning. Now is the time to consider how the farm’s legacy will be handled.
The first order of business is to plan the finances so the parents can enjoy a comfortable standard of living in their later years. They may need long-term care in the future, so they should consult an elder-law attorney about how to plan most effectively. If they don’t plan, they could lose the farm later to a lien, to reimburse the government if they end up needing Medicaid assistance.
How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help with Property Issues
Elder law attorneys can also advise about how to avoid problems if a parent re-marries after the first one passes. There’s no telling what can happen to family property when one spouse is left lonely and finds someone else. Sometimes the results are terrible for family harmony.
Next, it’s necessary to allocate the value of the farm among all the children, so that each child is accounted for once the parents pass. This is by no means an easy process. For a transition plan to be successful, a great deal of planning, preparation, and communication is needed.
Guides and Resources for Farm Planning
Here, it’s best to do some research. There are a host of useful publications that can guide the exploration. Kansas State University provides a twelve-step analysis of questions to be answered.
Farm Bureau Financial Services offers several detailed guides covering various aspects of the planning process.
The Beginning Farmers website is loaded with links to farm-succession courses, blogs, toolkits, farm management advice, and cooperative extension assistance in various states.
For real-life success stories, consult the Successful Farming website, here
When you’re ready to start planning for your farm and other valuable property, we’ll be ready to help. Please contact or call us at 434-589-2958. We are happy to help.