Farms and family businesses are valuable assets. Not only does your company or farmland have a monetary value, but it also provides you with the opportunity to build bridges to the future and to create a strong legacy. Long after you are gone, your farm or company should still be operating – as long as you make plans for that to happen.
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC can help. We discuss with farm and family business owners what their goals are for the future and we create a personalized plan to help you to protect your company, your farmland, and your legacy from the risks you could face. To find out more about the services we offer, give us a call at 989-872-5601. In addition to personalized representation, we can also answer questions you may have including:
- What can you do to protect your farm and family business?
- What happens to your farm or family business after you are gone?
- How can a Northern Michigan farm and family business lawyer help you?
What Can You Do To Protect Your Farm and Family Business?
Farmland and family companies are at risk because the value of the land and the business is often significant. Whenever you have valuable assets, you have a lot to lose. An experienced attorney will work to help you identify the biggest threats to being able to keep your farm and business and the biggest threats that could affect the ability of your company to grow.
For businesses, you may need to do many things to protect your company, ranging from incorporating so the business is a separate legal entity, to creating buy/sell agreements, to making sure employees do not steal your trade secrets. An attorney can help you to evaluate threats to your company and can also assist you in identifying opportunities for your business to thrive.
Farms are also at risk of possible loss because of the value of the land and assets. If you own either a farm or family business, for example, the assets you own may prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid when you need nursing home care. If you have to pay nursing home bills and have no coverage for them, you may be forced to sell assets – like the farm or company – if you haven’t taken steps to keep the assets secure and protected.
Using trusts, structuring ownership of assets appropriately, and taking advantage of other legal tools can protect your land and your family business from threats.
What Happens to Your Farm and Family Business After You Are Gone?
The fate of your farm and family business are in your hands. You need to make plans to ensure that these assets are managed appropriately if you become incapacitated due to illness or injury at any point over the course of your life. You also need to think about how and when the land and company will transfer after your death.
If you leave your farm or family business to the next generation in your will, the probate process could be time consuming and you could end up with problems due to mismanagement and uncertainty until new owners take possession. There may be a better way to get the land and company into the hands of new owners sooner.
There is also the risk of estate taxes causing problems after your death. If your money is invested in the company or land and the value of the business or farm pushes your estate over the excludable amount, a big tax bill may be assessed that there is not enough cash for the estate to pay. The sale of farmland or some business assets, or even the sale of the business itself, could be one of few options available under these difficult circumstances.
To make sure you have control over how your farm and family business transfer, and to ensure these important legacies are not lost, you should make a succession plan and an estate plan with the help of an experienced legal professional.
How can a Northern Michigan Business Lawyer Help You?
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC provides help to owners of farms and businesses throughout Cass City, Bad Axe, Caro, Deckerville, Reese, and surrounding areas throughout Michigan. When you own a farm or have your own company, you cannot afford to let fate decide what happens to these valuable assets. Give us a call today at 989-872-5601 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which we can help you.