Farmers and rural landowners face unique challenges and opportunities because they own an asset that is unlike any other. We have substantial experience in handling estate planning, business planning, elder law planning, real estate transactions, and litigation involving forestry, agriculture, and rural real estate.
Having an in-depth knowledge of business organizations, real estate, or estate planning strategies is not sufficient when it comes to rural landowners. Your attorney must also understand commodity payments, government programs, timber rotations, agricultural lenders, insurance, and your specific objectives.
Many investors include real estate as part of their portfolio. However, owning a family farm or forestland is very different from owning a shopping center or shares in a real estate investment trust. Timber markets, global economic conditions, tax laws, and weather conditions are just a few of the factors that play into rural landowners’ long-term plans. Without thoughtful planning and knowledgeable advisors, rural landowners could lose thousands of dollars due to poor timing, an unexpected death, a sudden financial emergency, or bad marketing decisions. They could also pay thousands, or even millions, of dollars in unnecessary taxes.
Family history, tradition, and “love of the land” are concepts that don’t play into all types of planning. Many, if not most, rural landowners identify a desire to keep their property in the family as one of their planning goals. Bankruptcy, divorce, lawsuits and bad decisions are serious concerns for everyone. They are amplified when the asset has personal significance. Deciding how to divide assets between beneficiaries who have different interests and circumstances can be difficult. We have helped dozens of clients through these issues. With proper planning, you can ensure that creditors, ex-spouses and addictions are not able to destroy your legacy.