Estate planning doesn’t concern itself only with financial savings or your home. It can also include your property and land. And in no other industry is land more valuable than farming. By building and implementing an airtight estate plan, farmers and ranchers can ensure a smooth transition of land ownership and management when the time comes. An estate plan can provide for the needs of all family members, even those who aren’t actively engaged in its daily functions. It also can help mitigate the risk of high inheritance taxes on land that is made more valuable by inflation. And because land is not a liquid asset, an estate plan is important in stemming and addressing any potential settlement problems.
In “Planning for Farmland,” the Black Hills Pioneer reports that a quarter of the nation’s agricultural land is likely to change hands in the next decade, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. That land needs to remain productive and valuable. This important objective can be achieved with an effective estate plan. The NRCS says that a sound estate plan can help accomplish at least four goals:
- Transfer ownership and management of the agricultural operation, land, and other assets to a new operator;
- Avoid unnecessary transfer taxes, such as income, gift, and estate taxes;
- Provide for financial security and peace of mind for all generations;
- Foster the next generation’s management capacity.
The American Farmland Trust (AFT), an organization operating under the NRCS, serves agricultural landowners, concerned citizens, planners, local officials, state agency staff, land trusts and policymakers. The AFT answers complex questions on all types of issues.
Talk with a qualified estate planning attorney and make sure your hard-earned investment and family legacy is properly protected.
Reference: Black Hills Pioneer (September 4, 2015) “Planning for Farmland”