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Estate Planning For Life's Stages

Missouri Farm Family & Land Owner Planning

Serving the Missouri Ozarks For Over 20 Years

Missouri Farm Attorney estate planning
Farm Family Attorney

If you’re looking for an attorney that understands estate planning for farm families, then you’ve found him. You and I, both, have seen the mess that happens when there is no plan in place. Farm families have more at risk. The stakes are high. When Missouri Farm Planning does not happen, a legacy is lost. You may have even benefited from your neighbor’s lack of estate planning and farm succession planning when their family was forced to sell in less than ideal circumstances.   

You’ve seen how other farmer’s didn’t plan and how their mess created intense family conflict, and even destroyed previously good relationships.

The mess that is left (when no plan is in place) is one of the main reasons why I now devote my law practice to helping farmers and their families avoid those nightmares. Good fences make for good neighbors, right? Well, a Missouri land owner can create good fences for their families when developing a succession plan.  This way your children will know “who gets what” and so many conflicts can simply be avoided before they even start. 

Missouri Farm Planning is about acting now to create the future you desire.

As a farmer, you know better than anyone that planning for the future is critical. Your farm is more than just a business, it’s even more than simply a way of life — it’s your family legacy. If that legacy is to continue, you must act or the government has a plan…and trust me, you know you won’t like it.

A complete estate plan that is mindful of Farm Succession Planning is necessary if your dream of your grandchildren one day walking the land with their children, and taking the same satisfaction of knowing what they do every day is a vital part of our unique American way of life.

I help frame the issues so you can make the choices that must be made to protect your legacy. I have helped countless farmers, ranchers and land owners throughout the Missouri Ozarks plan for their farms.  I help families avoid probate, unnecessary taxes, and family conflict with mindful guidance through the farm succession and estate planning process.

Farm Trusts Legacy
Plan your farm’s legacy

Most Missouri farmers and ranchers have complex estate planning needs. Often, farmers have children some of who want to continue the farming or ranching business and some children who simply do not. Don’t force your children to decide who inherits the land, the equipment, the livestock, and other assets.   

My office can help make a plan that is clear and fair for all your children.  Missouri Farm Planning is a focus and a passion for my office.

Good news, there are many estate planning options available to farmers, ranchers, and others that will allow you to fulfill your ultimate goals.

No matter your occupation or asset mix, you need to work with a team of experts (including attorneys, accountants, bankers, insurance specialists, and financial advisors) who are familiar with the nuances of estate planning to insure that the plan will work as anticipated when it is needed.

As a rancher or farmer, you know better than anyone that planning for the future is critical.  Those without a plan don’t last long. Your farm is more than just a business, it’s even more than simply a way of life — it’s your family’s legacy. If that legacy is to continue, you must act or the government (probate courts) and the banks have a plan already in place for you…and trust me, you won’t like it.  Their plan destroys what you’ve spent a lifetime of blood and sweat to build. 

An up-to-date and complete estate plan that is mindful of farm succession (both management and ownership) is necessary if your dream of your grandchildren one day walking the land with their children, and taking the same satisfaction of knowing what they do every day is a vital part of our evermore unique American way of life.

You’ve seen the mess that happens when there is no plan in place.  I’ve seen it myself both in my family and in my law practice. When planning for the certainty of uncertainty does not happen, the devastation has a rippling effect over generations. Hell, you may have even benefited from your neighbor’s lack of planning when their family was forced to sell in less than ideal circumstances. Do you want Big Ag and their stockholders owning the land you’ve care for?  I bet I know the answers to these questions.  These issues and problems won’t fix themselves.  A rain dance never brought the rain and “thinking” about estate planning never got it done. So, if you know you’ve got a problem worth fixing, if you have a legacy to protect and a spouse, kids and grandkids counting on you, what do you do and who can you trust?

First, decide it’s worth fixing and something you are going to stop putting off.  Whether your early into building your farm, knee deep in your prime or slowing down, the need to get this done is the same because we all know tomorrow is not promised.

This is not a do-it-yourself project. This is not about filling is some blanks on a form over the internet.  The stakes are too high.  You need an attorney committed to your goals and understanding of  your way of life.  The old way of thinking was that estate planning was a one-time thing that you could forget about once you signed the Will.  That never was a good idea and simply in not what is in anyone’s best interest.  You need to have an attorney that will help you plan, but also (and most importantly) be there when you need them the most.  So, ask others who they have used?  Look for someone local, if possible. Ask you accountant?  Ask someone you trust?  Maybe you meet with a couple different attorney, too.

Planning Gives You Hope

Your estate planning expert will ask a lot of questions: Do you have a successor? How do you want to treat off-farm heirs? How do you want to shift management control and asset ownership — quickly, slowly, after certain goals have been achieved? The estate expert will want to know your business structure, your management team and possible future managers. The more time you spend making these decisions about what you want for your farm’s future, the less time you need to spend “on the clock” with the attorney.   

You’ve seen how other farmer’s didn’t plan and how their mess created intense family conflict, and even destroyed previously good relationships.Farm Estate Planning

The mess that is left (when no plan is in place) is one of the main reasons why I now devote my law practice to helping farmers and their families avoid those nightmares. Good fences make for good neighbors, right? Well, estate planning and far succession is all about creating good fences for your family.  Good fences let’s everyone know what’s to happen and who gets what and when. when developing a succession plan.  By making these type of choices now, you are building fences for you family. This way your children will know “who gets what” and so many conflicts can simply be avoided before they even start. 

Missouri Farm Succession Planning is about acting now to create the future you desire.

An experienced estate planning attorney will help frame the issues so you can make the choices that must be made to protect your farm, your family and your legacy. Avoiding probate is often the most basic step in estate planning. But strategic, mindful planning is critical for avoiding unnecessary taxes and unforeseen circumstances. Also, every step of this type of planning needs to focus on your most valuable asset: your family. Family conflict is best avoided by the choices that you make now, rather than letting those question linger for later or the next generation.

While not all, most farmers and ranchers have complex estate planning needs. Often, farmers have children some of who want to continue the farming or ranching business and some children who simply do not. Do you want to force your children to decide who inherits the land, the equipment, the livestock, and other assets? Or even worse, do  you want a probate judge deciding all these things or just deciding to sell it all at public auction?  

revocable trust estate planning
Ozarks Legacy Law Team

A trusted legal advising will help present options that are clear and fair (maybe equal or may not be) for all your children

No matter your occupation or asset mix, you need to work with a team of experts (including attorneys, accountants, bankers, insurance specialists, and financial advisors) who are familiar with the needs and nuances of planning for farmers.

There is a difference between estate planning, which decides what will happen to your assets when you die, and succession planning, which is how to transition the farm or ranch operation to the next generation. Sometimes you have no heir apparent, but that only heightens the need to be proactive in the planning process. Maybe you want to position assets to have your land farmed by a longtime family friend, or you want a sale with the least tax consequence. Having the right plan is key and will make the difference come nut-cuttin’ time.

When the attorney understands your operation and knows your goals, they can offer strategies, such as entity structures, trusts, gifting plans, buy/sell agreements, etc., to best reach your goals.

David helped me and my wife sort through how to treat our kids fairly while still having a plan that kept our farm (part of which has been in my family for over 100 years) in the bloodline. I was actually surprised by David's suggestions for solving our problem. His suggestions made it clear to me that he understood what we wanted (and needed).