A hundred years ago family farms were plentiful throughout the United States. While they have certainly dwindled in number over the last 100 years, there are many left. Some of those are even thriving and producing a substantial income for the owners. If you own a family farm and wish to see the farm stay in the family, careful estate planning is essential.
Knowing the importance of estate planning is just the first step though. You must also make some difficult decisions if you plan to keep your family farm in the family. Often, not everyone who makes up the next generation is interested in working/running the farm. That can make dividing up your assets more complicated because the majority of your assets are likely tied up in the farm. There are, however, ways to divide up your family farm without having to physically divide up the assets.
What many family farm owners do is create an entity such as a limited liability company, a family limited partnership or a corporation and then transfer all of the farm assets into the entity. Aside from some other advantages to doing this, creating an entity for the farm allows you to divide the profits from the farm without actually dividing the farm itself.
Absent a plan though, your farm assets might have to be sold upon your death which is why you need to take the time now to talk to your estate planning attorney and create a plan.