As a rancher, you need to have a comprehensive estate plan that includes a medical directive, power of attorney and a trust. The plan needs to make sure you have an estate plan that covers all the property that you own.
Having a detailed estate plan makes sure that you save your family time and money when you are gone. It also helps you to protect the relationships in your family. It makes sure the land and equipment that you have pass onto your family in a manner that you want.
However, many farmers make a lot of mistakes that end up costing them. Let us look at the various mistakes that you need to avoid.
Dying intestate means that you passed on without a will at all. When you have any property, whether big or small, you need to have a will to your name. When you don’t have a will, the state will determine where the assets go.
Make sure you determine the distribution of your estate through a well-documented will.
When it comes to inheritance, you need to make sure things are clear among your beneficiaries. When you have a spouse, your property goes to your spouse automatically.
If you have a blended family, then try and make sure you make a plan well in advance so that you don’t leave anyone out.
Lack of Legally Binding Documents
Just because you don’t have time to run to the lawyer doesn’t mean that you go just for any document. Many people worry about coming up with the right document and end up with something that doesn’t cover even the bases.
When you decide to come up with a document, whether a will or a trust, make sure it is comprehensive and it has been done professionally.
Every good lawyer has time for you. If you are too busy to get time during the regular working period, then you need to talk to the lawyer and see if he can allow you to come in at another time. This will make sure you come up with the right documents the right way.
When you don’t craft legal documents the right way, they become easy to be contested. Try and avoid this from happening to you.
Don’t focus so much on the documents and forget to distribute the assets the right way. To reduce family feuds, try and make sure the distribution of assets are done the right way.
Selecting Wrong Agents
You need to try and name trustees and representatives that are able to handle the task that you have.
There are times when you will need to choose representatives, agents and trustees. When you choose these people, make sure that they have the capacity to get along with your family and that they can communicate well with other people.
If the appointment of a person increases the tension among them, then you don’t have to appoint them at all.
Failing to Address Family Issues
If you have a kid inheriting more than what the other people are getting, you need to make it clear and explain it to your family.
You need to sit down with your family and have an open and honest conversation about what is happening and why it is happening that way.
For any potential sensitive situation, you need to take the step of not only addressing the family as a group, but also writing a letter to the kids explaining the decision you have made.
Failure to Address Disability
Not everyone knows the details of your farm business. If you have a kid with special needs, make sure you address them and let them understand what they are entitled to.
Remember that the state offers disability support to your child; therefore you need to try and make sure that you don’t make them ineligible for this support.
Failing to Work With a Qualified Attorney
One of the top mistakes that you can make is nit to work with a qualified estate planning attorney. When push comes to shove, you will need the services of the attorney so that you can make the process of succession easier. It is usually a good idea to start with the attorney right from scratch.
Owning a ranch is just like any other business – you need to have an estate plan to make sure succession is done the right way. Try and avoid these mistakes so that you don’t put a lot of pressure on your family when you are gone.