Testing the Cake Recipe
A very interesting article came to my inbox a while back about the inheritance of land, in this case agricultural land. As a Colorado attorney many of my clients own land – lots of it. So this article was of particular interest to me – a cautionary tale about the importance of making certain that “individual versus shared intentions” are critically evaluated when two trusts exist ( in this case one written for the husband and one for the wife). Two trusts can be very similar in content and intent, but the outcome can be very different under certain circumstances. In some circumstances, the outcome of inheritance can be substantially different and wholly unintentional.
The article is titled “Is Your Estate Plan Right?” by Dr. Donald J. Jonovic – (Staff. Agricultural.com) It is an interesting article because agricultural, farm and land trusts can be particularly complicated with respect to inheritance. In the example offered by Dr. Jonovic, only one family member worked the farm, but the other family members were deemed entitled to inheritance (of equipment and machinery).
If you own agricultural land, the cautionary tale is well worth the read and our thanks to Dr. Jonovic for posting it.
A wonderful quote by Dr. Jonovic from the article: “Estate planning often gets little more attention than writing a cake recipe: Combine 100 acres of this, 50 shares of that, stir in tax efficiency, then store in a file somewhere. Retrieve only on death, follow instructions, set the oven at grief, and bake for the rest of your life….”
Estate Planning is not a “once and finished” project. I have written previously about the importance of reviewing an estate plan periodically (ideally on an annual basis, or whenever a “life event” takes place”)
As with any estate plan (and trust documents), it is critical to “test the recipe”.
Note: Donald J. Jonovic, PhD (Ohio) is an advisor to business owners since 1973..His website is familybusinessmgt.com He is co-author of “Passing down The Farm: The OTHER Farm Crisis”
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