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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.

Think You've Got It Done?

Jul 23, 2013

 iStock A Barn with a View CompressedFrom Legacy Moment (07.19.2013).
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Satisfaction: The feeling you get when overcoming a challenge, completing a difficult task, or learning a new skill. Succession planning has been likened to all of these and more. It is challenging, difficult and for most, new. But if you've done it, made the decisions, put ink to paper, and shared your results, you can check it off your to-do list—right?

Not necessarily. Not all plans are created equal. Not all plans address your goals and ensure financial security, a smooth ownership transition, adequate leadership development, or mitigation of the estate tax.

If you think you've got it done but want to be sure, the following set of questions will help you evaluate your plan. They will help you make sure your plan addresses your goals and creates the legacy you want to leave. This is the first of two parts; the next 10 questions will be included in the July 26th Legacy Moment.

For each of the topics in question, there are supporting resources at to help you. Rate the following statements for Disagree/Neutral/Agree:

1. Our farm will remain in the family for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

2. The ownership transition will be gradual for the benefit of all concerned—owners, families, employees and customers.

3. Our farm will continue to provide financial security and career opportunities.

4. The farm is protected from the devastations of divorce, death, disability and dissolution.

5. The senior generation can opt to retire without unnecessarily burdening the income distributions and capital reserves of the operation.

6. The farming operation is supported with operating agreements, job descriptions, employee manuals and a family employment policy.

7. We know and have communicated the who, what, when, where, and how of all the family's succession planning arrangements.

8. We've adopted a business plan, organization chart and communication policy that will help the management team efficiently run the operation.

9. Our succession plan is based on clearly defined goals that address keeping the operation together, financial security for involved family and preparation of next-generation leaders.

10. We use a family council and/or board of directors to effectively separate family matters from business issues.


News & Resources for You: 

Did you miss out on this week's Legacy Project Workshops?  Don't worry - more opportunities are coming up in December!  Watch for details about events in Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana.

Are you ready for succession? Take our quick self-assessment.

More than information, tools, and resources, eLegacyConnect is caring families, great advisers, and the best organizations in agriculture providing succession solutions for your farm family. 

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