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Delaware farmers have unique estate planning considerations

Business owners or those with a large amount of property have many considerations when developing estate plans. As both business owners and large-scale real estate owners, Delaware farmers have many things to think about when it comes to estate planning.

There are many issues to consider, including succession of the business and fairness in passing down assets to non-farming children.

Due in part to an aging population of farmers, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates close to 70 percent of U.S. farmland will change hands by 2038. Families who own farms need to consider the orderly transfer of the land, equipment and business operations. This is important not only for the family but for the future of agriculture in Delaware and throughout the United States. 

With so many assets and emotional ties to the family farm, family conflict is one of the biggest challenges for estate planning farmers. Some decisions may not appear equal to certain beneficiaries. For example, non-farming children may receive less in order for the farm to stay around. Putting a plan in place and dealing with each issue piece by piece is a good idea in order to keep things under control.

Delaware farmers will need to consider taxes when undergoing the estate planning process. Recently, the threshold for the federal estate tax was increased to just over $11 million per person, which may alleviate this issue for many farmers. However, power of attorney, asset distribution and business succession are all still very relevant issues even without estate taxes to consider. An experienced lawyer can help draft wills and advise on legalities when planning for the future of Delaware farms. 

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