Whether you own or operate a farm or are a landowner, there are many important decisions that you have to make. In many farm businesses, the owner/operator is also the manager as well as one of the principal laborers. While the labor activities are always more imminent, owner/operators must recognize and give priority to management time. One of the most important decisions a farm manager or landowner should make is to understand the importance of planning for the transition of assets to the next generation and the implications they may encounter.
A farm manager or landowner should ask the following questions:
n Have I made any plans for someone to inherit my estate when I retire from the business, or in the event of death?
n Do I want my farm business or land ownership to continue beyond my life and be operated by the next generation?
n What operations will continue with my farm business or land when I can no longer manage it?
When a manager answers these questions, he or she is doing what is called estate planning. Estate planning deals with arranging for the transfer of your family’s wealth and property from one generation to the next. It is how you plan to divide up your property and wealth among your surviving spouse and heirs. Estate planning is important because it gives the manager the responsibility of deciding how they want their estate divided. If there is no estate plan in place, the property may not be divided the way the manager wants it.
On Feb. 20, the Cooperative Extension will host a regional conference that will highlight ways to chart the future of your farm and land assets. The title of the conference is “Planning For the Future of Your Farm” and will be held at the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center on N.C. 72 West.
The conference will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. The registration fee is $10 for the first family member and $5 for each additional family member and includes lunch and one notebook per family.
Topics include: Future Trends in Agriculture; Present Use Value and Land Use; Does your Estate Plan Make Sense and Can You Afford It?; Probate — What Your Family Needs to Know; How Taxes Affect Your Estate Plan; Basic Estate Planning Documents: Wills, Trusts, Gifting; Estate Planning — Do You Know What You Own?
To register, please call the Extension Office at 671-3276. The deadline to register is Thursday; pre-registration is required. Please make checks payable to Robeson County Cooperative Extension.
Remember it is never too early or too late to start Estate Planning.
For information, please call Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Farm Management Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, or by email at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu. You can also visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.