Author: Michael Baron

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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Who Doesn’t Love a Tax Cut?

Dear Michael: Are estate has grown in the past decade, and we might be approaching the credit amount allowed for families. What is the current amount we (my wife and I) can pass without the kids paying estate taxes? We know that President Trump has talked about getting rid of estate taxes and just going to capital gains. Is that good or bad for us? – Feeling Taxed. Dear Feeling Taxed: This time of year, everyone gets to feeling over taxed – both literally and figuratively. A combined hangover from winter and tax payment time. The current five million...

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Two Big Headaches: When There is Inequity in Your Estate Plan, part 2

Dear Michael: We had set up our estate the way you had described in your last column. Our land and machinery will go to our farming son and our two daughters will share our savings which is made up of C.D.s, retirement funds and some stocks and bonds. It’s certainly not equal with what the son will be getting but he has been working all these years here and they have not. We are retiring and letting him take over the livestock and farming. – Two Big Headaches Dear Two Big Headaches: As I was explaining in my last...

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