According to AARP, 64% of Americans say they have “not got around” to making a will, leaving any key estate decision out of your family’s hands.  Not getting around to estate planning can leave your family in a mess if they engage in a long, drawn-out fight over the family farm and assets.  The AARP’s Sean Voskuhl said estate planning is critical for farmers and ranchers to ease burdens on their family and for future expectations of the farm or ranch.


“It’s never an easy conversation, but it’s an important one.  Estate planning can protect your family and your investment to the farm or ranch.  You’ve worked hard for years to build your business, so make sure you protect its future.”


Voskuhl added there are several steps to good estate planning.


“First consider your goals, and treat everyone fairly.  Fairly doesn’t necessarily mean equal, consider the continuation of ownership of the farm or ranch and it’s assets.  Communicate with your family on your intent.  And do them some favors, maintain good records, and maintain your estate plan as needs and plans change, and be sure to list all of your digital assets as well as passwords and on-line amounts used for the business.”


There are other factors to consider, such as your heath, taxes, and specific scenarios.  That’s why Voskuhl says the most important step is to seek out professional help in the process.



If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail

More From PNW Ag Network