Water Street Solutions, Peoria, Ill., offers these checklists to get started, according to life stage:

In your 20s and 30s:

  • Determine where your farm passions lie.
  • Attend workshops and programs to develop skills required for future ownership.
  • Begin to accumulate appreciating assets.
  • Research beginning farmer loans.
  • Decide whether you want to return to the family farm or start on your own.
  • Explore how government may assist in land transition between generations.
  • Start insurance policies for your parents, to allow for growth and offer you the ability to purchase assets from siblings.
  • Start conversations with parents and siblings about the future of the farm.
  • Ensure parents' long-term care needs are met.
  • Build a team of trusted advisors.

In your 40s:

  • Build balance sheet strength. Acquire appreciating assets.
  • Ensure parents' transition plan is in place.
  • Consider your own disability insurance.
  • Study the entity structure on your farm and make sure it matches your goals.
  • Add to trusted advisors. Remove and replace them as necessary.

In your 50s:

  • Plan what the next 10-20 years should this look like.
  • Consider what type of legacy you want to leave.
  • Prepare family for the transition of farm’s operation and ownership.
  • Consider ways to be fair to all children, as opposed to being equal.
  • Make your wishes known.
  • Put your long-term care insurance in place.