Estate planning involves one thing most farmers and ranchers would rather avoid: paperwork. However, for agricultural producers with children or dependent spouses, a sound estate plan can save time, avoid probate, reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and ease the post-death transition for surviving family members.
The number one issue we see with farmer's and rancher's estate plans is that the process is delayed and focus is placed on issues that are viewed as more “time-sensitive” like taxes, earnings, and investments. But estate planning addresses unexpected events, so “just in time” solutions don’t exist for most people. This lack of predictability means today is always the right time and tomorrow is often too late. Proper estate planning should always be viewed as a process and not just as an event. Also, estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. Put simply, there is no bad time to plan your estate.
The rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is creating a plethora of unique estate planning and legal challenges for farmers and ranchers.
As a service to our agricultural producers amid these unchartered waters, our law firm has compiled a resource center for estate planning considerations.