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Who Will Get the Farm?

Who Will Get the Farm? Image

Suppose that mother and dad have run the family farm for a long time. Now, though, they’re getting on in years and they’re considering moving into a smaller place. One of the daughters and her husband help run the farm, but the rest of the siblings have moved away and they aren’t interested in returning. It’s now time to think about how the farm legacy should be worked out.

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.

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.

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

https://www.agriculture.com/farm-management/estate-planning/passing-down-the-farm-strategies-ideas-and-real-life-solutions

and here

https://www.agriculture.com/farm-management/estate-planning/tips-on-designing-a-farm-succession-plan

When you’re ready to start planning for your farm and other valuable property, we’ll be ready to help.  And if you are outside of Florida, please contact an experienced Estate Planning and/or Elder Law Attorney (preferably one that is Board Certified) to assist you.

Jason A. Penrod is only the 20th attorney to be Board Certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation.  He is the founder of Family Elder Law (www.familyelderlaw.com) which has offices in Lakeland, Lake Wales, and Sebring, Florida.

  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - Florida Family Elder Law

  • Life Care Planning Law Firms Association

  • Florida Family Elder Law Office

  • Family Elder Law Lakeland Florida Area Chamber of Commerce Member

  • Family Elder Law Lake Wales Florida Area Chamber of Commerce Council Member

  • Family Elder Law Greater Sebring Florida Chamber Of Commerce Member

  • Family Elder Law Florida Bar Certified

  • Family Elder Law Florida Elder Counsel Member

  • Life Care Planning Law Firms Association

  • Life Care Planning Law Firms Association

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