Family Owned Businesses and Farms


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Estate Planning for Family-Owned Businesses, Farmers and Ranchers
 
Family business owners, farmers, ranchers and landowners face unique challenges surrounding how to preserve the family business or farm—a symbol of their heritage. Sadly, over 70 percent of all family businesses don’t survive the transition to the next generation. Estate taxes play a significant role in that problem.
However, estate taxes aren’t the only costs chewing up assets passed from one generation to the next. Probate fees and other settlement expenses can significantly reduce an owner’s legacy. On top of that are the problems surrounding the fair distribution of those assets to heirs.
 
Land Rich, Cash Poor
The typical farm family is land rich, cash poor. With hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars locked up in equipment, livestock, structures and land, the net worth may be impressive. But when you look at the cash flow, it’s another story entirely.
Estate taxes will be based on the current market value of all your assets. If your heirs can’t readily come up with the cash from other sources, they may have no recourse but to sell the farm just to pay estate taxes and other settlement costs.
 
Estate Planning Solutions
Your farm or business poses two estate planning challenges:
  1. How can you preserve it so that you can pass it on intact to the next generation
  2. How will you equitably distribute it among your heirs.

Achieving these two goals means planning in advance for such expenses as estate taxes, as well as implementing strategies that give you maximum control over how, when, and to whom ownership of your farm transfers.

Richard Gershberg is  available to answer your questions and assist with your legal concerns.  Contact our office at (410) 654-3850 for more information about your options.


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