Despite the rise of corporate farms in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 97% of farms in this country are family-owned, and 88% of all U.S. farms are small family farms. Research suggests that most family farmers—about 80%—intend to pass their farm down to the next generation. A study out of Iowa State University indicated that half of farmers did not have an estate plan, and nearly three-quarters had not chosen a successor to take over the family farm business.
Family farmers are not alone in the tendency to put off estate planning, but that delay can have a disastrous outcome: by some estimates, fewer than a third of family farms continue into the second-generation, and only about 12% continue into the third. Lack of planning is often a primary reason.
You may imagine your children working side by side on the family farm, continuing to build the legacy you left them. Even if this rosy vision materializes, it won’t do so organically. With most businesses, including fam… Read More
Imagine if, at the moment of your death, a large portion of your assets just...vanished. Or that those assets continued to exist, but your loved ones couldn’t find them, access them, or maybe didn’t even know about them. The fruits of your labors, your careful investments, forever locked away from the people you meant to have them.
If that sounds like a nightmare scenario, you should know that it has already happened to some owners of cryptocurrency who died without creating an estate plan for their digital assets. Cryptocurrency is a type of digital asset. The best known type of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are others, such as LiteCoin and Ripple.
According to the BBC, research estimates that as of early 2020, up to 3.8 million Bitcoin, with a value of about $30 billion, has been lost. Much of the loss is due to owners of the cryptocurrency dying without giving heirs a way to access these digital assets.
Essentially, cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency—digital cash, if you will—that e… Read More
One of the first things many people ask when talking to an estate planning attorney is “How much does it cost to make a will?” On its face, it’s a reasonable question: legal services can be expensive, and people naturally want to know what they will be spending. But it’s not the best question to ask when you are looking to create a will or an estate plan, and it’s certainly not the first one you should be asking. And while a good estate planning attorney will let you know what to anticipate as far as the cost of your estate plan, most lawyers worth their salt won’t be able to answer this question—at least, not right off the bat.
In fact, you should be very hesitant to hire an attorney who gives you a firm answer to the question “What do you charge for a will?” It would be kind of like walking into a hospital and asking, “What do you charge for a surgery?” In that case, the answer should certainly vary depending on whether you need a mole removed or a heart-lung transplant. The hospital staff isn’t going to just give you a price. They are going to ask you questions about your health, and run tests to determine your condition. Similarly, in… Read More