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Can You Do Estate Planning for Your Farm? Elder Law Attorney in Woodstock, Georgia


Succession planning is one of the most important aspects of passing on a farm to future generations, but having a conversation about it is not always easy. Jolene Brown, an Iowa farmer and professional speaker, and Nelson Schoon, certified financial planner and owner of Financial Framing, weighed in on some of the do’s and don’ts of succession planning.

AgriNews recently reported some great advice about what to do (and not do!) to ensure a smooth transition of your farm to the next generation or a new owner in “Do’s and don’ts of farm succession planning.”

DO make a plan. Farm succession is critical. It’s nice when you have trusts and wills, however, when you’re dealing with transferring a business such as a farm, there’s a lot more complexity. The majority of farmers are over the age 55, and if you can believe it, 80% of them do not have a plan.

DO hire the right people in the right positions. Like any closely held or small business, the fact that you’re related to someone doesn’t automatically mean they should be working on your farm. You may have some good workers who are members of your family, but all of your farmhands should be vetted and hired correctly.

DON’T wait. Unfortunately, some farmers pass at an early age and have no plan in place. This can create major problems for family members. Contact a skilled estate planning attorney right away to help you make a plan.

DO communicate. Ask yourself whether you want the farm to continue. If so, you need to communicate your expectations clearly so that the plan is known. Families need to have a legal estate and management transfer plan or a buy or sell agreement prepared. All of the concerned parties need to discuss details that go beyond the will.

DO make sure there’s enough money. It’s not that you need to have a super-prosperous farm ready for someone to take over. The next generation needs to be prepared with a business plan of how they will be adding value if they join the farm.

DO get it in writing. Remember that a conversation or phone call isn’t a binding legal contract. Work with your estate planning attorney. He or she will make sure that everything is legal and above board.

Reference: AgriNews (September 17, 2015) “Do’s and don’ts of farm succession planning”

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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

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Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!

- Marcia

I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!

- Ben