Estate Planning and Management

When you’ve made the decision to protect your land against irresponsible or destructive development, it’s important to know your bases are covered with regard to the tax implications of this choice — both now and in the future. Responsible estate planning is a complex topic with wide-ranging implications for you, your family and your land.

On this page, you’ll find a comprehensive set of resources that can help you understand and navigate the various legal processes involved in estate planning for land conservation, including succession planning, tax credit trading and 1031 exchanges.

Legal Resource Directory

Needless to say, these are complex issues that require the expertise of a qualified tax lawyer to properly negotiate. Let our servers do the walking to help you find local, regional or national professionals to assist you with your tax, estate, or conservation objectives. You can simply enter your ZIP code and specify just what type of professional you are looking for or you can build a team of qualified professionals in your town, county, or state.

Click your state to find Local Lawyers, Tax Advisors, Incentives and Programs

Responsible Estate Planning

Your land is likely to be a major part of your estate - to properly plan for the future, it's essential to clearly spell out whom will get it and how it may be used. Taking the time now to have these matters settled ultimately means less burden on your loved ones. You'll also have the peace of mind knowing your wishes of protecting your land will be honored long after you're gone

Use our Estate Planning Articles

Organize your farm business: Sub S Corp eases estate planning worries

Organize your farm business: Sub S Corporation simplifies ownership

Legacy Planning Best for Farm Succession

Farm Succession plan important piece of the puzzle

Planning a Successful Transition From a Family Operation to an Agricultural Business

By: Kylene Scott
Estate planning is one thing, but succession planning is a whole different story. Succession planning is about transferring decision-making. Success for the planning depends on three attributes of the people involved. First, the willingness to work, second discipline and focus, and finally third is the willingness to try new things. Historically speaking, this is not the way ranches, dairies or agricultural operations have been run, but eventually those who are farming or ranching will have to go through the “getting out of the business” process and there needs to be a plan. 

pdf Managing Debt to Prepare for a Farm Transfer

By: Jessica A. Shoemaker (Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc.)
For most family farmers, passing a successful farming operation on to the next generation is an important concern. This can ensure children and other surviving family members have a source of potential future income. And, for many family farmers, providing for succession of the farm operation is also essential to maintaining ownership of land that is significant to preserving a particular heritage and way of life. Learn more about managing debt through managing federal farm loans, using bankruptcy to restructure debt, and more. 

Will a Personal Guaranty Trump LLC Financial Liability Protection?

By: Erin Porta, OSUE Agricultural and Resource Law Extern
Like much of the business world, many Ohio farmers are choosing to operate as Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) to gain personal liability protection for LLC members and ample estate, tax, management and business succession advantages. However, personal guaranties are becoming more common and there are several important points LLC members should keep in mind in order to maintain protections through their LLC. 

What is a Limited Liability Company?

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are one of the most commonly used forms of succession planning . A conservation easement is a legal agreement that permanently restricts development on your property. Setting up an easement typically involves donating your property either to a land trust or a government entity; in doing so, you may forfeit some of your rights to the property, but are guaranteed the land will remain preserved for future generations.

Depending on the nature of the easement agreement, it may be possible to negotiate its terms. For example, many private landowners have managed to retain the rights to grow crops and perform other revenue-generating activities.

Conserving your land with a conservation easement may earn you a significant tax rebate, provided it can qualify as a charitable donation under the terms of IRS Section 170(h) . As well, your loved ones will benefit from reduced estate taxes. The following articles on conservation easements and estate planning are provided by our sister site the Conservation Tax Center . Click on an article and you will be directed to over to the CTC where you will be connected to a library of tax and estate planning articles that can help you conserve your land as well as a directory of qualified attorneys and estate planners.

Learn about Conservation Easements

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Who We Are

Private Landowner Network is an initiative of the Resources First Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting the conservation needs of private landowners across the United States. To do this, we’ve built a network of online resources that help landowners and rural residents make informed decisions about their property. To support us in this valuable work, consider making a donation or becoming a member today.