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Jim Angell in Ag Web Farm Journal on Farm and Ranch Succession Planning

Kennedy Berkley Managing Partner Jim Angell shared the importance of having a succession plan for farmers and ranchers.


In the article, Jim stresses the costliest mistake a farmer can make is neglecting to plan or having an overly simple plan. Angell explains that many farmers are lax about succession planning due to various reasons, including reluctance to give up control or deal with family dynamics. “Farmers have spent 35 years in survival mode, and succession planning has barely registered,” he says.


Sophistication in planning is essential, especially when deciding how to treat farm and non-farm siblings. “Fair and equal are not the same,” Angell says. He advises separating the operational side of the farm from the legacy (land) and ensuring equipment stays with the business. Land should be divided into tracts without multiple children owning a single tract. A buy-sell agreement is also crucial for co-owners.


Angell emphasizes the importance of communication, particularly for the next generation. Angell often works with them first on their estate plans before involving the senior generation. “Please communicate,” he urges, noting that many disputes arise from a lack of communication and poorly executed plans.


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