Author: Michael Baron

The Difference Between a Family Ownership Agreement and a Will

Farms have grown to the point where they are no longer ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses. They need to put on their big boy pants and have signed business agreements with all owners and future owners of the assets.   Dear Michael: We don’t have a will, and our farm operation has grown in value, if not income. We don’t know where to start. It seems we’ve heard too many stories about wills not followed by the heirs afterward. We are wondering if there is anything else we can use, like an LLP or LLC or corporation so that we...

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That Big Question Your Grown Farm Kids Want To Ask You, But Probably Won’t

Dear Michael: We have a family of five with two of our sons who would like to farm. At this point, neither of them are farming as I need the income from the farm for myself until I reach sixty-five or so. Both have jobs off of the farm, but they return on weekends and days off as well as vacation time for seeding, harvesting and taking care of cows to give me a break on some weekends. Neither has really said they want to farm but they are always here when needed. As you can probably tell, I...

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Son-In-Law’s Drinking Habits Stresses Family Members, Threatens Future of Farm Operation

Dear Michael: We have a bit of a problem and maybe it won’t turn out to be the worst problem in the world. One of our daughter’s is married to a man who abuses alcohol but refuses to get any help. Our daughter doesn’t want to leave him because of their children. Being as they are farming with us, the other children have become concerned about what will happen when we die. They think he will ‘drink away’ the family farm. Now we have our daughter-in-law’s throwing in their two cents worth making the entire family feel uncomfortable whenever...

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A Heartbreaking Tale of the “Legacy Mom and Dad Didn’t Want”

Dear Michael: Our father recently died. Mom had died about ten years ago. In my father’s will, it stated that our youngest brother should be able to buy the land from us as he stayed with the farm.  Before Dad died, the farming son owed quite a bit of money on rent to Dad. He hadn’t paid for going on three years and Dad had never pushed it with him. Dad always kind of tried to take care of him. When the attorney was settling the estate, he told us the farming son could buy the land for well...

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Estate Planning With a ’Millennial’ in the Equation: Q&A with Michael Baron

Dear Michael: Our son has been farming with us for a few years now. Jr. is single and doesn’t seem to have any interest in dating or getting married. He just wants to sit at home when the work is done – and he’s a good worker – but he has two sisters who are married and do have children. I guess from what we can see now, Jr. (and most of his friends) are not likely to get married and carry on the family farm to another generation? We know this is not a very unique situation as...

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