Author: Michael Baron

What Everyone Should Want in Their Estate Plan

Dear Michael: What do you think are the most important parts of setting up a good estate plan? Our kids keep changing things in their lives with new spouses and new jobs. We keep talking about it, but my husband I never seem to agree on what we should do – so we do nothing. –Procrastinator Dear Procrastinator: I think everyone can agree that it’s easy to procrastinate when there are unknowns to your questions. The best way I know how to eliminate ‘unknowns’ is to educate yourself and, simply by asking the question you did, it shows you...

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Estate Taxes and the “Political Pendulum”

Dear Michael: We have been putting off our estate planning since the presidential election. We know, under the current laws, our estate will have to pay estate taxes as we are in excess of eleven million dollars by a good share. Do you think estate taxes will be eliminated as promised in the election campaign? Should we just continue to wait until the tax relief agenda is passed by Congress? –Waiting on a Solution  Dear Waiting: You could sit and wait and see what happens. There are three scenarios which we will face in the upcoming months and you’ll...

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When Faith Kept More People on the Farm than “Fortune”

Dear Michael: We have been raising crops and livestock for three generations in northern South Dakota. Our son started with us in 2004 and had good years since the time he has started. Last year wasn’t great, but we broke even, which was disheartening for him. This year, with the drought, we’ve had to sell most of our cattle early as we have no pasture left and no hay crop. He is taking it hard, and we’re not even sure what we are going to do. Any thoughts on how to deal with this? We were getting ready to...

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Estate Planning is a Short-Term and Long-Term Planning Process

Dear Michael: We have been trying to get our estate organized so that our farming son can keep on operating and our daughter, who does not farm, gets an equitable inheritance from our estate. Sadly, we weren’t able to put aside much into retirement funds and savings to provide some benefit to her. We also have quite a bit of grain in storage – or we did before the planting season began. Now it’s been sold and used to purchase fuel, seed, and all the things we’ll need for the year. Is grain a good thing to leave to...

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Gifting to Your Children? Simple Questions You Need to Answer First

Dear Michael: We have been fortunate to put aside some money as well as pay for our farm operation. None of our children are farming and we are getting close to retirement. With no children farming, we probably don’t have the same problems other people do. However, my husband and I disagree on whether or not we can gift anything – of our savings – to our children. How do we know what we’ll need in years to come? – Have Saved Dear Have Saved: In every single client case I work on with people, I help them answer...

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