Estate planning needs vary among individuals because each of us has a unique collection of physical, real, and intellectual property. For example, the estate planning needs of a single person who owns a small business, has no children, owns no real estate, and has some investments are far different from the estate planning needs of a homeowner who has a spouse, three children, a job, and a retirement plan. If you are a farmer, there are several considerations that you’ll want to work into your estate planning in addition to your other estate planning needs. This article describes three of these considerations, and we discuss three additional factors in a follow-up article.
One vital estate planning consideration for many farmers is that they are even more likely than the owners of other types of businesses to engage in succession planning. Succession planning is planning for the transition of their family business and all of its assets into the hands of the next generation, rather than preparing an exit strategy or a plan for the sale of their business upon the event of their death or retirement. A skilled estate planning attorney who has experience in working with farmers can help you make a succession plan that takes your needs into account as well as the needs of the people into whose hands you seek to entrust your farm. Estate planning attorneys have many tools at their disposal that could make it possible for a smooth transition of your farm’s affairs to occur even if you’re not presently sure how that could happen.
Many farmers rent land as part of their business operations. With proper estate planning, it is possible that those who follow you in running your farm could have access to the same rental privileges that you have. Estate planning attorneys experienced in working with farmers can work with the people who own the land that you rent to secure rights of first refusal, leases, and other instruments that can help the future owners of your farm keep the business running smoothly.
While we’re on the topic of ownership, it’s possible that the collection of land that you own has changed over time. An estate planning attorney can help you clear up any confusion you have about the property you own so that you can make a plan for how you would like it handled in your estate plan. They can update deeds, work to clear up clouds on the title, and address other encumbrances that could prove troublesome to those who will be inheriting the land from you. Updating the land records associated with your farm can give you peace of mind and clarity, especially if it’s been a while since those records were last updated or if there have been many changes, sales, and other activities involving the land.
If you’d like to plan an initial consultation with Kansas estate planning attorney J. Joseph Weber, P.A. you can make an appointment by calling our office at (316) 265-7802, or by reaching out to us online. Our location in Wichita is open weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We sometimes offer weekend or evening hours by appointment, as well as the opportunity to connect with us online through our website.