Farm families are known to work together. They start the children young, hoping that eventually they will grow up and want to take over. This happens but so does the opposite. Many children move away instead of working on the farm.
As you age, you may be thinking of you and your children’s future, as well as what will happen to the farm. Even if you end up continuing to work, your children will start taking over.
Here are some more tips to passing on the family farm.
Have the discussion in a neutral place. Though many discussions occur around the dining room table, which is usually the only place everyone is at the same time, that is not the place for this one. Because some emotions may get tested, it might be more helpful to talk about this in the presence of a lawyer.
You may also want to include your farm’s accountant in this discussion because you are going to be talking about how well the farm is doing, what it spends on a yearly basis, how much money it brings in, and much more. By having both of these people included, it can become more of a discussion of the future of the farm. Together, you can decide who is going to be making most of the decisions, who is going to do what work, and much more.
This plan needs to be put in writing as soon as possible. Even if everyone seems to be happy, it can all change after your death. Siblings who have always gotten along may start to fight. One might want to sell the farm while others want to keep it. For this reason, it needs to be written down so you (and your family’s) wishes are carried out the way that you want.
Review it often (especially with changes that may occur to the family). Things change. While one may be interested in the farm today, they might find that they would rather do something else. Divorce, marriage, death, and even the birth of new children and grandchildren can change everything. Make sure you (and the whole family) update the plan for the farm regularly.
Once you have a plan in place, don’t forget to review it often and make changes as necessary. Your children may marry and have grandchildren. They may decide that they want to move away. You may lose someone in the family, making it necessary to make changes to the business plan for the farm.
Contact us to help you keep the farm in the family.