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Why Your Farm Estate Plan Should be Revisited Every Few Years


It is prudent to revisit your estate plan every 3-5 years or when there is a major life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, purchase/sale of major assets, bankruptcy, children). Estate planning leads to business planning, which leads to tax planning, which leads to business succession, which should lead to disaster planning, which may lead to federal farm program planning, which should lead right back to estate planning; hence, estate and succession planning is a lifelong circle.

Estate planning can be a bit of a balancing act. In fact, you could look at each estate-planning element as being like a ball in a juggler’s performance. At any given moment in time, not every one of the balls can be at the highest point (meaning only one or two of these areas will likely have the benefits currently realized or maximized), and some balls will be on the down-swing (meaning the goal may not be fully implemented at that time). To demonstrate, the business structure most beneficial for federal farm programs may not the same as the one for succession planning. However, the entire performance only works if each ball is in its appropriate place at the right time.

This is an excerpt from my book that I co-authored with Pat Dillon, an Iowa food and agriculture lawyer and author of this Iowa agriculture law book.  You can purchase a copy of the book “Field Guide:  Legal Guide for New York Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs” on Amazon.com.  A new (more user-friendly) Kindle version of my book has been recently uploaded (only $9.99 or $2.99, if you own the hard copy of the book). 

"This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before relying on the information in this blog."

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