For starters, I commend you for asking the question.
That is the first step.
However, procrastination is the death bed of good intentions.
I get it.
Who likes to talk about death?
Aside from morticians, even thinking about death makes most folks uneasy.
This includes farmers and ranchers, who really need to think about the future of their businesses and the livelihoods of their survivors.
This was the focus of a recent AgriNews article titled "Estate planning can lessen grief for survivors."
While you will want to click over to the article yourself, it reinforces that land is the heart and soul of any family farming and ranching business.
Estate planning is about protecting that land.
And your family.
Let me guess - you want to preserve family and business relationships, avoid giving any more to the government than necessary, and provide peace of mind for both you and future generations, right?
One "yuge" challenge is how to handle children who are active in the farming and ranching operations ... and those who are not.
Communication is key, as with all estate planning.
I recommend that you think through the ultimate outcomes you want to achieve and make sure you have "spousal alignment" with these objectives.
Then, get together with your estate planning attorney to help you understand the legal requirements to make them happen.
While you are at it, discuss including "remarriage protection" provisions in your estate plan to avoid losing the entire estate to a "next spouse" (and his or her children) if one of you dies and the surviving spouse remarries.
Once you get your estate plan nearing the signing stage, communicate your objectives with your children.
Better to "have it out now," rather than later!
Family feuds, and the attorneys involved, can be expensive.
Work with an estate planning attorney to make sure you protect your land and do what you believe is right and fair for your children.
Make sure any attorney you select is well-versed in current estate laws and farm business operations in the state.
In all things, measure twice and cut once.
Your local county extension agent likely has a short list of such attorneys if you need a referral.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: AgriNews (December 31, 2015) "Estate planning can lessen grief for survivors"