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Study finds over half of farmers do not have an estate plan

A recent report by Public Radio found farmers are working well into their sunset years. Instead of kicking back and enjoying retirement, farmers often work well over the age of 65. In fact, the subject of their interview was 84 years old and had no intention of retiring in the near future.

Why do farmers work so long? Some point to the assistance technological advances in farming machinery can provide, reducing the amount of physical labor required by those who choose a farming life. Others argue years of financial difficulties has made retirement difficult, if not impossible. Regardless of the reason behind this tireless work effort, another interesting fact came to light through the report: over half of farmers throughout the country have made no formal plan to pass on their estate after their death. 

Although these farmers work as if they will never quit, at some point they will have to let go of their farms. If proper estate planning tools are not used, they could see their beloved farms distributed in a manner that is not in line with their wishes. This can be avoided by devising a will that outlines how the property will be distributed, whether or not it will be divided and who will receive ownership in the event of their passing. 

Putting together a will that accounts for all possible scenarios can be difficult. As a result, regardless of your net worth it is wise to contact an estate planning attorney to help better ensure your estate plan meets your wishes. 

Source: HPPR, "How long can you farm?" Grant Gerlock, July 9, 2013

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