Each year that slips by without creating an estate plan increases the risk that all you worked for will end up with someone other than you want. AARP’s Sean Voskuhl said keeping the family farm in the family is hard enough, but becomes even more challenging if you don’t plan for its future. He noted most people procrastinate, don’t think their estate is big enough or just simply don’t know how to create a will or estate plan.

Voskuhl said anyone can create an estate plan, and the easiest way to do it is to find a local expert who knows the laws in your state. He said there are three basic elements of estate planning farmers should consider.

“First, develop and maintain a succession plan for ownership and management of the farm. Also, consider retirement plan accounts and life insurance needs of the farm as a closely held business. And, consider premarital agreements and protection of interests in the farm.”

And, Voskuhl said you need more than just a will.

“A will directs what happens after a person dies and makes life simpler for heirs, but two other documents are just as important. One is a health care directive, which appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you're unable, and which outlines the medical care you do or don't want. The other document is a durable power of attorney, which appoints someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated,” Voskuhl added.

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