Father's Day: a time to celebrate all of the dads, grandpas and great grandpas in our lives. It's also a time for many in agriculture to be very thankful. Many producers have the privilege of working side-by-side with their family. No doubt, some days are tough; but those able to work with family are a very lucky group. This is an opportunity that should be carefully protected. A general strategy to protect this arrangement usually involves establishing some disciplines.
First, it is absolutely crucial to build a solid succession and transition plan for your operation. It is never "too early" to develop a plan. A successful strategic plan generally pays off very well in preserving the operation for the next generation and realizing as much of the "fruits" of your labor through your career.
Next, communication is key. Often it is hard for people to separate their "dad" from their "business partner." Also, communication with family can be difficult regardless of a business relationship. Open communication about this reality and developing a workable communication strategy is important.
The next key discipline is assuring that you are proactively planning for the "what if's" in life and your operation. You need a plan that provides a road-map in the event of a death, disability, departure and other possibilities life may bring. Having a mutual agreement on an action plan for these "what if's" is absolutely crucial. Generally, these are handled with a proper estate plan for all involved and a collective agreement among all involved that is consistent with the respective personal estate plans. The contents of these plans are unique to every family and consulting with your professionals is a must.
Those lucky enough to work with their family must ensure that they protect this gift. Protection comes with proper planning. This Father's Day, make it a goal to assure you have a plan in place.
Happy Father's Day!
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