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Chapter 2: Business Transfer

Business succession seems to be a hot topic these days. Articles in the agricultural magazines, programs offered by community colleges, agricultural organizations, and Cooperative Extension seem to be focusing on this important subject. For many, “succession planning” has become a buzzword used almost synonymously with estate planning. We find succession planning to be a much broader subject and think it may be useful to share the business transfer aspects of this important topic for all businesses. We define that transfer as the process resulting in a viable business for the next generation, which meets the objectives of both senior and junior family members.

It is critical to understand how to deal effectively with the many significant issues, in addition to estate taxes, involved in passing your legacy to your business successors. So, what are the other components of intergenerational business planning and how do we put them in place? To answer that question, we need to look at the nature of most agricultural businesses. Aspects specific to family agricultural businesses to be covered in the following pages include: financial issues, business management issues, and family issues.

– Rod Carter, VP Consulting Services, Northern California Farm Credit

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