Farming or ranching is more than a means of livelihood – it is about preserving a legacy and unique way of life. Unfortunately, many farmers and ranchers make very common estate planning mistakes. The farm or ranch that has been passed down for generations then ends up being sold and converted into non-agricultural use, cutting the legacy short and ending the family’s unique lifestyle choice.
Sadly, farmers and ranchers are not the only ones who avoid making or updating an estate plan – many others, including business owners and parents, also avoid planning, which can cut their legacy short. Below are three common estate planning mistakes farmers and ranchers make and how to avoid them.
Revocable Living Trusts have become the basic building block of estate plans for people of all ages, personal backgrounds, and financial situations. But for some, a Revocable Living Trust may not be necessary to achieve their estate planning goals or may even be detrimental to achieving those goals.
One common way to avoid probate of real estate after the owner dies is to hold the title to the property in joint names with rights of survivorship with children or other beneficiaries. This is accomplished by drafting a new deed adding the names of the children and certain legal terms and then recording the new deed.
Many people believe that they do not need an attorney to help them prepare and record the new deed. Instead, they think that a deed form, downloaded from the internet or obtained from a book, is easily filled out and recorded. But deeds are in fact legal documents that must comply with state law in order to be valid. In addition, in most states, property will not pass to the other owners listed in a deed without probate unless certain specific legal terms are used in the deed.
Whether you are a physician or not, you probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with liability. It’s not just medical malpractice claims either – employment related issues, careless business partners and employees, contractual obligations, and personal liabilities add to the risk assumed by a physician in private practice. Unfortunately, in our litigious society, these liability risks are not unique to physicians. Business owners, board members, real estate investors, and retirees need to protect themselves from a variety of liabilities too. Being proactive and implementing some proven liability planning strategies is a must for every business owner.
Below are three liability planning tips anyone – physicians and non-physicians alike – can use to protect their hard earned money.
Inheritance protection is often only considered if beneficiaries are considered unable to handle their inheritance on their own. However, if you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again. In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike.