Estate Planning for Family-Owned Businesses and Farms
Many owners of farms and family businesses are unaware of the potential threats to the legacy they are building. Your farm or company could be at risk of being lost because of estate taxes, or if you have to sell property and assets to afford nursing home care as you age. You don’t have to risk the farmland or the company – you just need to have a plan in place to protect what you have.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. can provide help not only with mitigating and minimizing risks faced by farm and business owners, but also with making smart choices to grow your organization and to ensure the timely succession of your company or farmland to new owners. Give our Atlanta farm and family business lawyers a call today to find out more about the assistance we can provide that is personalized to your situation and to get answers to common questions including:
- Why are farm and family business owners at risk?
- What can farm and family business owners do to protect their legacy?
- How can an Atlanta farm and family business owner lawyer help you?
Why are Farm and Family Business Owners at Risk?
Owners of farms and owners of family businesses have substantial assets: your farmland or your ownership share in your company could be worth a lot of money. At the same time, you may not have a lot of additional wealth outside of the farm or the company, as much of your money could be tied up in the land or in the business equipment.
When your biggest assets are your company or your business, these are the assets that could be lost if something goes wrong. For example, if you have to go into a nursing home as you age, your insurance probably won’t cover the cost of care since most policies don’t. Medicaid can cover nursing home bills, but having substantial resources will disqualify you from Medicaid coverage. When you need to pay the bills for a nursing home and your only assets are the farm or company, you could have no choice but to sell.
Your farm and family business could also put your estate over the excludable limit for the estate tax exemption. If your company assets or farmland push the total value of your estate above $5.45 million as of 2016, your death could trigger a substantial tax bill. If there is not cash from other sources to pay this bill, there could be no option but to sell the company or to sell farmland. This could mean the legacy you wanted to leave is gone.
What Can Farm and Family Business Owners Do to Protect Their Legacy?
If you want to ensure your farm or family business is not lost because of nursing home bills or because of estate taxes, you need to structure your ownership interests so the company and farmland do not count as a resource and are not taxable. An Atlanta estate planning lawyer can help with this process.
There are also some other issues you may need to address as well, to provide the maximum in protection for the land you work or the company you have created. For example:
- You need to make plans for who will manage the farm or business if you become incapacitated.
- You need a succession plan to easily and quickly transfer ownership when you pass away so there is no lag during which the company or land could be mismanaged.
- You need to make sure your heirs can be responsible and that they will not squander the legacy you have left them. You can use trusts and other tools if you have spendthrift heirs or if you’re worried about divorce, bankruptcy, or creditors making claims against the people you’re leaving the farm or company to.
You need a personalized solution that addresses the specific risks you face. Pyke & Associates, P.C. can provide you with an assessment of your situation, as well as assistance with taking advantage of the legal tools to protect what is yours.
How can an Atlanta Farm and Family Business Lawyer Help You?
Pyke & Associates, P.C. has provided assistance to farm and family business owners in Atlanta, Peachtree City, Stockbridge, and surrounding areas in Georgia. Give us a call at 770-507-2500 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you to protect your company, your land, and your legacy.