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Country Discussion Topics
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How to or if divide farm?
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rhudson    Posted 10-23-2003 at 19:33:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
two children, boy, girl. what are your thoughts on handing down the Farm. my thoughts, conventional and old fashioned, would be to not divide, Robert would inhert the Farm. cash would go to Jessica. well since there might not be any cash around, that doesn't seem fair. but for name sake, you can't keep dividing a farm generation after generation (it has not been divided since it was purchased after the War for States Rights). i can't even decide about my Great-Grand Fathers watch. so far i've thought about giving it to Robert (again for name sake) and purchased an equal value antique watch to give Jessica. but the "personal" value isn't there with the purchased watch. does not seem fair to Jessica. good grief, just seems like a few years ago that all i had to worry about was if my hair looked cool or not.

Cider Girl in NW MI    Posted 10-29-2003 at 05:34:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
There is are 3 really good chapters on "Multi-Generational Transfer" in Joel Salatin's book Family Friendly Farming on this. Basically, you start giving the farm to the kids when they are children through promissary notes, thereby reducing the amount of cash they will need to buy out the farm when you retire/pass. Then when the kids are old enough, the one that is interested in the farm, buys the other out, through more promissary notes. Really interesting, Check it out. Stay away from Trusts, they are never fair, no matter what they say.

Hal/WA    Posted 10-24-2003 at 14:24:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
This is often a problem in most families that have something to divide when that time comes. And usually somebody ends up feeling that they were shorted.

I don't know how old you are and how many years you have left. I also don't know what you like to do with your time. And wht your farm is worth and how salable it might be. Or how well your children get along or whether either of them wants to farm.

My parents owned a farm that they bought while I was growing up. We worked very hard building it up and during that time, land values in this area jumped tremendously. When my Dad retired from his town job, my parents decided they wanted to travel. So they sold the livestock and began subdividing the land. This financed their travels, motorhoming through all but 3 of the lower 48 states and flying to countries all over the world. Their retirement years were relatively affluent because they subdivided the farm. My Dad died when he was 80, leaving my Mom with sizable assets and very good income from the contracts and his pensions. Mom has been distributing some of her assets by giving each of her children $10k per year, hoping to "spend down" rather than there being a big problem if she should ever need to go to a nursing home. Hopefully when she passes on, my parents estate will have been mostly distributed, equally and fairly among their children and there will be relatively little to deal with then.

My parents thought about selling me the farmstead and about a third of the acreage that they started with. They had bought a condo in town and my Dad was really not capable of keeping the place up anymore. But my siblings disagreed on the price they were going to ask me to pay, and the price got really high. Rather than taking on a debt that I probably could not have handled or else making a big trouble in the family, I decided that I was not interested. The farmstead and property was all sold. I will admit that it pained me to drive past the place that I grew up on for many years, but now I think that was the best overall solution to keep things fair and keep peace in the family.

But my parents' property was very salable and worth quite a bit of money, not as crop or pastureland, but for housing acreages. My family never had enough good cropland to make a living farming, even back when farming actually paid something.

Have you asked your children what they would like to see happen? Maybe your son does not want to farm and maybe your daughter does. It would be highly unfair to give the farm to one of them, only for that child to sell it and not share the money with the other. But farming is and always will be very hard work, and at least in my area, the return from farming is not very good. And do the children have careers or other obligations elsewhere that would keep them from wanting to return to the farm?

Without knowing anything about your personal situation, I would urge you to do what you want and need to do in your retirement years. Maybe selling at least part of the farm would be the best thing for you and your spouse.

There are lawyers that specialize in dealing with problems people have in the latter part of their lives. And this is such a problem. I would suggest that you consult with such a lawyer to see that your property is protected in the best, most fair way. Plan on spending some money with the lawyer; it could be one of your best investments ever. It would be a real shame if somehow the government got all or part of your assets, AND THIS COULD HAPPEN! Good luck!

Ray    Posted 10-24-2003 at 12:24:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Usually about every third generation a farm is
sold or lost by the heirs who don't want the
farm or the agrivation of farming,paying taxes
and insurance on a money losing proposition.
The farm belonged to someone before you,and will
belong to someone different after your gone.50
years from now knowone will remember who owned
it anyway.Just a fact of life.

screaminghollow    Posted 10-24-2003 at 08:43:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Fella up the road, died just before I moved here. He had an interesting approach. The farm was left to the kids equally, with a few conditions. The youngest son was the one that didn't move away and stayed around to help his dad farm. The first condition was that the youngest son was given the right to use the farm and live there for so long as he farmed it. The son's rent was paying the taxes. Youngest son was given the option in the will to buy the siblings shares of the farm on ten year notes under a mathematical formula I didn't understand.
And when the youngest gives up farming, the farm could be sold, if he hadn't bought out the siblings. I guess the old man figued he gave each child an equal share in the long run and yet provided that the farm could be kept together by the one child who was most interested in farming. The youngest son told me that his dad didn't want the farm divided up, even if it went outside the family.
Another consideration is the fact, that there are no guarantees that the farm stays in the family anyway. Sometimes farms are lost for taxes when farmers get hurt bad. They are taken by the gov't for airports, schools, parks and golf courses.
Kids sometimes get into drugs or gambling and blow the family farm.
Just some things to think about.

Ron/PA    Posted 10-24-2003 at 05:17:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
We're fighting the same battle here, 'bout 10 years ago my parents decided to sell the farm and move to town. They asked me to buy the place or sell it for them. Luckily my niece bought the homestead, her dad and I had already purchased enough of the farm for our needs, but would have bought it to keep it in the family.
Now my brother is making his arrangements and like you has a son and a daughter, son would have inherited most of it, but since he turned into a major butthead will only have life estate of his dad's house, provided he pays the taxes!
I can't help you with your dilema, we have left ours to a 5 year old great nephew, and hope for the best, I'm guessing that when I'm done with it, I just won't care.
Toolman, rig the drawing in my favor and I'll let ya dig holes all over "MY" property.

toolman    Posted 10-24-2003 at 09:45:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
there not holes ron there ponds , well they are supposed to be anyway , friend was here the other day and mumbled something bout good thing i didn,t have more land,something about the great lakes not sure what he was referring to ,guess he was a little concerned that if i kept diggin his house might fall into the pond.don,t know why .

Lazy Al    Posted 10-24-2003 at 03:54:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have ours in a trust .We are in charge of it untill the last one is gone. then two of the six kids are in charge . So the whole thing will probably be sold . I don't see where any one of the kids could afford to pay off the others or would even want to . Any way their names are all on it already . That's as fair as I can get it .
Oh and Willy the one who dies with the most toys is still dead .

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:00:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Think about it real well. When my Mother passed on the House was left to the oldest brother so he would have a place to live? Largest asset she had left. Daughter was left in charge of the rest of the stuff. He sold the house and blew the money and the daughter had a big garage sale and spent that plus ran up some big charges on her Credit Cards and left me with the bill? Glad my name was only on the bank account not the card. I got the pictures and little things that ment alot to me. I bet she rolled over in her Grave when she saw what happen when she left this world. Heck they were fighting over the stuff while she laid dieing from Cancer in bed. Never saw so much greed and glad she did not see what they were doing in her room when she was lieing down stairs in the Hospise Bed! I know I can sleep at night. Haven't talked to them since except to say Glad Mom did not see this happen. The brother that got the house did not even go to her service? I arranged for her Burial with my Father. Mark H.

~Lenore    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:42:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Makes me think if folks knew how much ugly greed might emerge for their earthly "wealth";
they might have done better to spend it all and enjoy it themselves.

I agree with one suggestion leaving it to both son and daughter with the stipulation the other has the option to buy if one wants to sell, there by keeping it in the family.

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:52:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good point and also you can give some of it to them early just to see how they deal with it. A trust account might help on the big items with some rules if you think it may be needed. Or heck blow it all befor you go and let them earn theirs! Mark H.

fredo.    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:30:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
willie-n beleive your a better man for it.

toolman    Posted 10-23-2003 at 20:23:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
thats a problem my wife and i have been trying to deal with for some time now, we don,t have any kids and always wonder what to do with this place , someday we will have to figure something out , we don,t even have a will as it is now ,if something was to happen under our laws the govt. would get everything.

~Lenore    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:37:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Toolman! please make a will; let your property go where you want it to.

Dont let the government beaurocats get their hands on it.

There has to be some one a sister, brother, nephew, niece, friend, just anyone besides the government.

toolman    Posted 10-23-2003 at 22:15:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
lenore, i know we have too and soon, i lost my mom and my dad and my wifes parents all in the last few years, i really didn,t like what i saw of other family members,some of what willy said he went through we went through here also, sometimes i think maybe it would be better to leave things to some one other than family, defeniately not the govt. of course , but to something like natures trust or something like that where the farm would be protected from developers for all time,still trying to figure it all out and when i do then i,ll be comfortable with my choice.

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 22:21:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Like maybe a place where kids could go to and have fun on a farm that are from the City. Mark H.

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:54:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
You can leave it to me if you want I will take care of it and the Goverment won't get any of it! Just kidding. Mark H.

~Lenore    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:56:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
I thought of that too.
Decided not to suggest it though. LOL

Ron,Ar    Posted 10-24-2003 at 04:33:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think it's a good idea, we could have a drawing or raffle and each one on here pay 100 bucks to put their name in the hat. You could enter as often as you like (or can afford), that way rhudson would have some spending cash and his problem solved too. There is at least 100 folks that read this board, thats 10 grand, nice vacation.

toolman    Posted 10-23-2003 at 21:59:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
hey and here i though you two where my friends now i see your just after my money haha

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 22:04:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
I wonder who will go first? Does he who has the most toys at the end win?? Mark H.

toolman    Posted 10-23-2003 at 22:08:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
don,t know and it really don,t matter not to me anyways,enjoy yourself while your here respect and treat others right ,its not what you have in your yard or garage but inside you that counts, at least it is for me.

Willy-N    Posted 10-23-2003 at 22:18:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Same here that why I decided to retire at 45 while I could still have fun and be around my Daughter growing up. Guess I am building the place for her to have I won't need it when I am gone. Life is to short to work up to the end for someone who does not matter in this world like a 8-5 job! Mark H.

Les    Posted 10-23-2003 at 20:05:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your way is the way we have chosen. The real estate goes to the son, the daughter gets everything else. But if my son keeps messing around, it might just go to his son (my grandson) or maybe even one of my sister's boys who would really appreciate it as they are more the farmer type.

Dave Munson, mid illinois    Posted 10-23-2003 at 19:55:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Out of all of us, my brother got grandfathers watch. He was the oldest male. Fair is fair but there is only one watch.

Out of all of them which would make the best farmer?

LH    Posted 10-23-2003 at 19:55:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Perhaps not divide but leave it to both as a partnership or require one to buy the other out if thats the route they choose to go

deadcarp -yup    Posted 10-24-2003 at 07:10:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
there's no law against signing land over to both kids. the tricky part is doing it early enough to duck losing the whole thing to the medical or nursing home bills. check where you live, but in order to avoid having it considered your property here, it has to be tranferred 3 years before you need the facility so if you're about 50, start writing or lose the place! fair warning, you can lose it lots quicker than you got it. i've done realized they're going to get it soon anyway, so my new policy with everything is: "if you want it, take it along and if we need it we'll tell ya." :)

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