Estate planning for farm families: the same, yet different

Many people might not readily associate Orange County environs with farms and agricultural enterprises, but the region is in fact home to many land-based pursuits and agri-related businesses.

And the owners of many farms and linked agricultural business operations across the area are logically focused on estate planning considerations to the same degree that individuals and families not so centrally tied to the land are.

And for good reason.

“The land is key,” says one estate planner who works with farm families. She adds that, “What estate planning is about is protecting that land.”

Of course, farm estate planning can touch upon considerations that range far beyond mere land concerns, and it frequently does. Although a point often made regarding estate administration is that every family is unique and needs to work closely with proven legal counsel to tailor a plan that makes optimal sense, some concerns seem nearly universal.

A will, for example, is an essential planning device in virtually every case. Moreover, sound planning is often closely focused upon health care provisions and end-of-life decisions regarding incapacity.

With farm families, though, there is often that central and understandable focus upon land, which has often been passed along through many generations.

For obvious reasons, farm estate administration can also be closely preoccupied with concerns relating to business-related structures and machinery — often very expensive equipment — and livestock. An additional concern in some families centers on the desire of some siblings to remain tied to the land and linked businesses, while other family members want to move away from a farm home or have already done so.

A proven estate planning attorney can address key concerns and help family members craft a sound, well-tailored and enduring estate plan that fully considers all the important realities of their lives, regardless of where they live or the occupation they practice.

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