succession planning

Ohio farm and Planning for the Future of Your Farm Webinar Series title
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, December 09th, 2022

We're happy to announce our popular “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” webinar series for 2023.  The four-part online series will be on January 23 and 30 and February 6 and 13 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. This workshop will help farm families learn strategies and tools for transferring farm ownership, management, and assets to the next generation.

Workshop topics

Here's what the webinar will cover:

  • Developing goals
  • Planning for the transition of management
  • Planning for the unexpected
  • Communication and conflict management during farm transfer
  • Legal tools and strategies
  • Developing your team
  • Getting your affairs in order
  • Selecting an attorney

Workshop faculty

You and your family will learn from two of Ohio's top farm transition experts:

  • Robert Moore, Attorney with our Agricultural & Resource Law Program. If you didn't already know, Robert was in private practice for 18 years before joining our program. He provided legal counsel to farmers and landowners across Ohio on business, farm transition, and estate planning. 
  • David Marrison, OSU Extension Field Specialist in Farm Management. David has been with OSU Extension for 25 years and is nationally known for his teaching in farm succession. He has a unique ability to intertwine humor when speaking about the difficulties of passing the farm on to the next generation. 

Registration

Because of its virtual nature, you can invite your parents, children, and grandchildren to the webinar, regardless of where they live in Ohio or across the United States. The webinar offers an easy way to include all family members in learning about how to develop a plan for the future of your family farm. 

Families must pre-register for the workshop by January 16, 2023 at go.osu.edu/farmsuccession.  We appreciate the support of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association in sponsoring the workshop and helping us keep the cost at $75 per farm family. The registration includes one printed set of materials that we'll mail to a family member, and other members will have access to electronic copies of the materials.

In-person workshops planned also

Several of our OSU Extension county educators are also hosting day-long in-person versions of the workshop on these dates:

Don't miss out

We hope you'll join us for this important series!  Even if you already have an estate plan or have begun one, this workshop should help you learn more and ensure that you're effectively addressing your goals for the future of your farm and farm family. 

For additional information David Marrison at marrison.2@osu.edu or 740-722-6073.

By: Robert Moore, Thursday, June 16th, 2022

By Robert Moore, Attorney and Research Specialist, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Legal Groundwork

Second marriages can present a unique challenge for farm succession planning.  The challenge occurs when one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage.  The spouses often want a plan that will ensure the surviving spouse has adequate income for the remainder of their life but at the death of the surviving spouse they will usually want their assets to go to their children, not their spouse’s children.  So, the issue becomes, how to establish a plan to take care of the surviving spouse while ensuring the deceased spouse’s assets go to their own children?

Consider the following example, a typical second-marriage, farm succession scenario.  Mark and Mindy each have two children from previous marriages.  Mark farmed his whole life and built a large farming operation prior to marrying Mindy.  Mindy is not involved in the farming operation.  Mark’s two children plan to take over the farming operation.  If Mark dies before Mindy, he wants to make sure Mindy has adequate income for the rest of her life.  However, he wants his assets to ultimately go to his children and not Mindy’s children.

Let’s first look at what a bad plan might look like.  If Mark and Mindy do not have an estate plan or a simple estate plan where everything goes to the surviving spouse then to the children, Mindy’s children could end up with some or all of Mark’s assets.  Let’s assume they each have a will that says everything to each other then to the children.  If Mark dies first, all of his assets will go to Mindy.  At that point, Mindy will have total control of the assets and could sell them all or leave them all to her children.  For second marriages, no plan or a simple plan is usually not adequate to meet the goals of a farm succession plan.

The better plan is to use a trust.  The trust can hold the deceased spouse’s assets in trust for the surviving spouse’s life, thus providing income.  Then, at the surviving spouse’s death, the assets are distributed to the deceased spouse’s children.  The surviving spouse never has ownership of the deceased spouse’s trust assets so the assets are never in danger of ending up with the surviving spouse’s children.

Using the example above, Mark establishes a trust with the following terms: “Upon my death, my assets shall be held in trust for the life of Mindy.  While held in trust for Mindy, my Trustee shall distribute all income to Mindy.  Upon the death of Mindy, my Trustee shall distribute the assets to my children.”  This trust will provide income to Mindy but ultimately distribute the assets to Mark’s children.

Sometimes we may want some assets to go directly to the deceased spouse’s children at death and some held in trust.  This is very common for farm plans.  When children will be taking over the farming operation, we may not want to tie up the operating assets in trust but instead have those go directly to the farming children.  To implement this plan, the trust may have these provisions: “Upon my death, my Trustee shall distribute all my farm machinery, grain, crops and other farm operating assets to my children.  The remainder of my assets, including my farmland, shall be held in trust for Mindy.  While held in trust for Mindy, my Trustee shall distribute all income to Mindy.  My Trustee shall offer to lease the farmland to my children for 80% of the county cash rent average.  Upon the death of Mindy, my Trustee shall distribute all remaining trust assets to my children.”

As the examples show, trusts can be very effective at establishing plans for second marriages.  The surviving spouse can be provided with adequate income while protecting the assets for the deceased spouse’s children.  A simple plan or no plan can result in some or all of the deceased spouse’s assets being inherited by the other spouse’s children.  A trust can be designed with a great deal of flexibility and creativity. Farmer’s in second marriages should consult with legal counsel to determine if a trust may be best for their succession plan.

Child running on Ohio farmland with sunset in background.
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Whether it's to protect family farmland, bring future generations into the operation, address special needs like retirement, disability, or remarriage--taking legal steps now can make your goals for the future of your farm a reality.  Farm transition planning is so important to keeping a farm and a farm family together, but it's easy to make mistakes that can bring unintended problems in the future.  Consider this this list of seven common mistakes farmers make in farm transition planning:

1. Procrastination.

2. Thinking joint property titles will do.

3. Overlooking expenses at time of death.

4. Assuming no federal estate taxes.

5. Trying to be fair to all beneficiaries.

6. Failing to consider disability as well as death.

7. Avoiding communication.

We'll discuss and address all of these issues in our "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" workshops this winter.  We can help you get over that procrastination hurdle, develop your goals, deal with communication issues and understand legal strategies.  Join me, attorney Robert Moore, and farm management educator David Marrison for either a day-long live program or a four-part live webinar this winter, where we cover these topics:

  • Developing goals for estate and succession planning
  • Planning for the transition of control
  • Planning for the unexpected
  • Communication and conflict management during farm transfer
  • Legal tools and strategies
  • Developing your team
  • Getting your affairs in order
  • Selecting an attorney

Dates and locations for the workshops are:

  • Live Zoom webinar on January 31 and February 7, 21 and 28 from 6:30--8:30 pm.
    • Because of its virtual nature, parents, children, and grandchildren can easily attend this workshop, regardless of where they live!
  • Day-long in-person workshops:
    • February 10, 2022--OSU Extension Greene County, Xenia, Ohio
    • February 25, 2022--OSU Fisher Auditorium, Wooster, Ohio
    • March 4, 2022--Wood County Fairgrounds, Bowling Green, Ohio

Pre-registration is necessary for all workshops.  For registration and further information, visit this link:  go.osu.edu/farmsuccession.  Together, let's make 2022 the year that you make plans for the future of your farm.

White barns with red roofs on cattle farm.
By: Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Friday, January 22nd, 2021

Ohio State Extension will host a virtual three part "Planning for the Future of your Farm" webinar series. The webinar series will span over three Monday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting on February 15, 2021 and concluding on March 1, 2021. This workshop is designed to help farm families learn strategies and tools to successfully create a succession and estate plan that helps transfer the farm's ownership, management, and assets to the next generation. 

Topics discussed during this series include: 

  • Developing Goals for Estate and Succession; 
  • Planning for the Transition of Control; 
  • Planning for the Unexpected; 
  • Communication and Conflict Management During Farm Transfer;
  • Legal Tools and Strategies;
  • Developing Your Team;
  • Getting Your Affairs in Order; and
  • Selecting an Attorney

This workshop will be taught by members of the OSU Farm Office Team featuring Peggy Hall & Jeffrey Lewis, Attorneys from the OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program and David Marrison, Extension Educator for Coshocton County. 

Because the workshop is online, you can invite your parents, children, and/or grandchildren to join you as you develop a plan for the future of your family farm, regardless of where they live in Ohio or across the United States.

Pre-registration is required. One hard-copy of program materials will be mailed to participating farm families. Electronic copies of the program materials will also be available to all participants. The registration fee is $40 per farm family. The deadline to register for the webinar series is February 10, 2021. You can register online at the "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" webinar registration page.  

In Summary: 

What? 

A three part "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" webinar series. 

When? 

Monday, February 15, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Monday, February 22, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Monday, March 1, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Cost? 

$40 per farm family. 
Registration deadline is February 10, 2021. 

You can find more information about the webinar series by visiting the "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" webinar registration page. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact David Marrison by phone at (740) 622-2265 or email at marrison.2@osu.edu

We look forward to seeing you there! 

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