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Chapter 4: Estate Planning

Properly prepared estate planning documents will help you avoid the costs of delays of probate and minimize the impact of Federal estate taxes on the farming operation. Estate planning and succession planning must be done together since the succession plan often provides that some assets will be transferred to the next generation only after the death of the parents. Estate planning is the preparation of legal documents which distribute your assets according to your wishes after your death.

A standard estate plan, which distributes assets equally to all of the children, could destroy a succession plan that assumes that only one of the children will be running the farming or ranching operation. Estate planning documents should be put in place as soon as possible so that an untimely death will not disrupt the plan for succession. The documents can be revised as the succession plan changes over the years. The following materials can help clarify the many aspects of estate planning and guide you toward developing a complete strategy.

– Margaret Fulton, Estate Planning and Probate Attorney, Robinson Lyon, and Fulton

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