Many Ontario farmers want to keep the farm in the family after they have passed away. If this is the case, it can be crucial to understand the dynamics of farm succession planning in conjunction with estate planning. Due diligence on this will allow farm owners to ensure their farming legacy is secure.
A formal farm succession plan paves the way for successors to take over the farm. It includes information regarding assets and the actual transition, which provides family members with a much-needed blueprint regarding how farm succession should play out. The plan can be crafted to a testator’s unique situation and that of his or her successors.
Some do’s and don’ts
Here are some things to do and not to do when establishing a farm succession plan:
- Don’t make assumptions regarding children and their knowledge about running a farm.
- Don’t wait until retiring before writing a succession plan.
- Don’t shy away from getting help from a professional with a succession plan.
- Don’t assume children want the farm.
- Don’t write a succession plan and then fail to tell anyone where it is located.
- Don’t leave any details out of the plan.
- Have a will accompanying the farm succession plan.
- Talk to any children successors about the responsibility of running a farm.
- Write a plan sooner rather than later since it can take time to get everything into a document.
- Review the plan periodically to keep the information current.
- Keep the succession plan documents together and organized and tell someone of importance where they are.
- Plan to give any children successors advice about potential taxes and fees associated with running a farm.
- Talk to a professional who may be able to help in fashioning a farm succession plan.
When Ontario residents own and operate something as important as family farms, they will want to make sure a well-rounded farm succession plan is part of their comprehensive estate plan. This type of plan can present some complications and complexities. An experienced lawyer can answer any questions and concerns and provide guidance through the process of establishing an adequate farm succession plan.