OWATONNA, Minn. – Running a farming operation requires skill, capital, and the ability to take risks.
Letting go of a farming operation takes a different set of tools – bravery, decision making, and a good team to help you carry out your goals.
Farmers and farm families attending the North American Farm & Power Show can learn more about the tools needed to pass on the family farm from Leah Gilbert, Esq., of Gilbert Legal, PLLC.
On Thursday, March 16, from 10-11:30 a.m., Gilbert will present “Farm Business Succession Planning” in the upper level hospitality room of the Four Seasons Centre located on the Steele County Fairgrounds.
She’s focused her practice in Estate Planning and Elder Law for over a decade and spoken at the North American Farm & Power Show many times. Gilbert’s presentation is always well attended with lots of audience questions.
The Greatest Generation has virtually passed their farms to the Baby Boomer Generation. Now the Baby Boomer Generation is preparing to pass their farms to Generation X, the Millennials, and Gen Z.
Each generation has their own ideas about what is important to them when completing succession planning.
People are also reading…
Gilbert recommends that everyone over the age of 18 complete a Power of Attorney form and their Health Care Directive.
For farmers, partners, and their families, planning for disability or death becomes more complicated.
“Every situation is different,” Gilbert said. “There are no cookie-cutter plans that work in estate planning, especially for farmers.”
Working with farmers on succession planning often requires identifying the farmer’s goals. An individualized approach to estate planning works best, she said.
Tax laws change constantly, and that’s part of why a farmer needs a good “team” – a qualified attorney, accountant, and financial advisor – that are all on the same page.
Gilbert asks her clients some tough questions: What is your exit plan? Who will take over the operation if you are no longer able to farm? At what point are you willing to transition the farming operation? What are your retirement plans? How will you fund your retirement? How do you feel about taxes? If you have a farming heir, what about the non-farming heirs? Is your plan in writing? Does anyone know of your plan? When was the last time it was reviewed? Does your successor know they are part of the plan?
Completing a succession plan is a great gift to your family and those involved. Your efforts to put together a well-thought-out succession plan will make a significant difference in your heirs’ lives.
“The good news is that in many situations, you have options. The bad news is that you have options. This is your plan, and you are going to have to make some decisions. If your decision is to not make any decisions, then we’re going to the default, which may mean unintended beneficiaries such as spouses, the government, long-term care, or non-farming members owning farming assets. Sometimes that works out great, and other times, it means we’re selling everything.”
For more information, visit gilbertlegal.org.