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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Confusing Equal with Fair: Treatment for Active/Inactive Heirs

Sep 08, 2008

Continuing our look at the twelve most common mistakes agribusiness owners repeat, #7 addresses a common dilemma among parents: "How do we make the right choices for our actively farming kids and their non-farming siblings?"

Click here to review previous posts. 

The seventh of twelve most common mistakes agribusiness owners repeat:

The single biggest question I hear in my client consultations, columns, and live presentations concerns ‘equal versus fair’ for actively farming kids and their non-farming (non-active) siblings.

It’s asked in various ways - sometimes it’s framed as a simple comment like, “We don’t want to leave anyone out.”  Other instances are more forthright: “How do we make sure Joan is recognized for her work on the farm, but also give something to our son Frank, in Columbus?”

As a parent, your emotional tendency may be to state unequivocally that you want to treat all of your children fairly.  You may wish to divide ownership evenly, but doing so may have disastrous results.  You will trigger a family conflict that could potentially affect everything you hold dear.

You may think, “If I divide everything equally, isn’t that fair?” In fact, just the opposite is true. >>

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