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Your farm: Estate planning for the heart of the family
Andersons Solicitors’ Michelle Hutton talks through some important considerations for farming families who want to plan for the future.
This sponsored post is brought to you by Andersons Solicitors.
Farming families face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning.
If you make the time to discuss your circumstances with an experienced estate planning lawyer now, it will provide peace of mind for you, your loved ones and future generations to come.
Michelle Hutton, head of wills and estate planning at Andersons Solicitors, talks through some important considerations for farming families who want to plan for the future.
What is the nature of your property?
A farm is much more than just a business or a piece of agricultural land.
It often combines your livelihood and your beloved home.
Sometimes it is the heart of your family, and a place that has huge financial and emotional significance across generations.
Before you consider future living, working and ownership arrangements, it’s important to understand the legal aspects of farm ownership.
Do you own the land alone or with your partner, sibling or child?
Perhaps the owner is a partnership, company or family trust.
The land might even be held on a Crown lease.
And what about operation and ownership of the farming business?
The nitty gritty of your ownership structures might not matter to you much now, but when ownership is transferred in the future, the details make a world of difference.
An experienced lawyer can help guide you through this maze.
Who will inherit your assets?
Who do you want to inherit your assets after your passing?
Have you factored in the needs of everyone in your family?
If you have a partner, you will want them to have everything they need to face life without you.
However, if they re-partner after you are gone, what does that mean for your children; and how should you balance the entitlements of children who work on the farm and those who don’t?
What seems reasonable to one may seem unjust to another.
There are solutions that can be tailored to your family now, including life interests, testamentary trusts, and changing ownership structures.
If you’ve never heard of these things, don’t worry – an experienced estate planning lawyer can explain.
What’s important is to find a balance of protection, certainty and flexibility.
Planning ahead and documenting your wishes also reduces the potential for future family conflict.
What else should I consider?
There are often other considerations, including loans or gifts made to children, jointly owned assets, superannuation, life insurance and overseas assets.
A conversation with your estate planning lawyer will ensure that no stone is left unturned and everything is factored in carefully.
Have you planned for the unexpected?
A properly structured estate plan caters for unexpected circumstances that your family might face in the future: divorce or relationship breakdowns, financial mismanagement or bankruptcy, severe addiction or mental health challenges, disability or improper influence from others.
Unfortunately, the reality is that many families will face one or more of these challenges at some point.
A good estate plan can’t eliminate these hardships, but it can make things smoother for your loved ones.
How can Andersons Solicitors help?
Andersons is a proud South Australian law firm with six office locations around South Australia, including Murray Bridge.
Andersons’ wills and estate planning team has a wealth of experience in working with people from a variety of family, financial and business circumstances.
They do more than just make wills; they work with you to develop a tailored succession plan for your unique situation.
Whether you have a simple asset and family structure, or you need to navigate more complex subjects like family trusts or testamentary trusts, they can guide you through the often overwhelming task of estate planning.
They also handle probate and administration of deceased estates, as well as dealing with disputed estates.
If you would like more information about wills and estate planning, please call the Murray Bridge office on 8532 3141 or visit andersons.com.au.
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