Leave a Legacy
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.
Three Ways Good Farms Go Bad
Jul 19, 2013
From Legacy Moment (07.12.2013).
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1. Not sharing your succession intentions with other family members and loyal employees. The future depends on you. It rests in the decisions you make and the actions you take. Whether it comes up in conversation or not, people want to know about your plans for the farm's future. They want to know what you've done—how you've ensured continuation of the operation, when you'll begin grooming the next generation for leadership and if you've considered each family's needs related to financial security.
2. Not committing your succession plan to print. If it's not written, it doesn't exist. Writing makes it real. It forces you to make decisions, draw lines and commit to specific actions. Without a written plan, anything goes. Every person has a dream, but converting that dream to written goals and then supporting those goals with action will make your dreams a reality. Whether you write it or someone else does, it becomes yours the moment you say, "I will."
3. Not handling the tough matters and making the emotional decisions. Assuming they'll work it out after you're gone leaves a trail of discontent and destruction. No matter how good the operation is today, it won't last if you don't establish a plan for the operation to continue. Make good decisions for the business. Take definitive action and ensure the continuing success of your operation. A complete plan will include provisions for an ownership transition, financial security, leadership development and the estate tax provisions.
Everywhere I turn today, there are articles, seminars and advisors eager to help you create a succession plan. The support you find covers a range from excellent advice to unsavory sales tactics. Regardless of the quality of the service, it's available in plentiful quantities. Over the past several years, we've brought you all the information you need, as well as case studies to prove our methods and tools to start you on the right path.
The other day, I came across a KansasCity.com article titled, "Tax, estate planning crucial for keeping, passing on farmland." It covers the essence of a message we continue to reinforce at every turn. Dave Goeller, deputy director of the North Central Risk Management Education Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, reinforces my sentiments, saying, "...good estate planning for farmers and ranchers is more than tax management. Good plans need to resolve legal issues, financial ones and the emotional ones of the participants, too."
Continue to send your questions. If you have and I haven't responded yet, it's coming—please be patient. My goal is to help you succeed, so don't hesitate to "Ask Kevin."
News & Resources for You:
Read "Tax, estate planning crucial for keeping, passing on farmland" by Gene Meyer.
"When is the right time to start planning?" "How do we get started?" These and more questions are addressed in the Legacy Project FAQs. your buy/sell agreement.
The next Legacy Project Workshops are right around the corner! Are you and your family registered yet, for Wichita, Kan.; Columbia, Mo.; or Evansville, Ind.?