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Chris Hayes would never have known his son-in-law, Jeff Depué, might entertain the option to farm unless he had started a formal estate planning process. "I learned you need to talk with your family, even through the difficult points. See what they want from the farm, and make it work with what you want."
Jeff Depué (far left), son-in-law of Margie and Chris Hayes (backs turned), learn more about the estate planning process from a Water Street Solutions Market Advisor Aaron Bertels. Depué currently is a teacher and is learning more about the family business.
Estate planning checklist
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.