Farm Succession Planning Phase 2 - Where Do You Want to Be?


Volume 8 • Issue 8 • September 2018

The Counselor is a monthly newsletter of Hallock & Hallock dedicated to providing useful information on estate planning, business succession planning and charitable planning issues. This month’s issue is the second in a four-part series about the farm succession process. If you are interested in learning more about the ideas and processes discussed in this newsletter, please contact us for an initial consultation.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.

The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

               From Alice in Wonderland

As was discussed in last month’s newsletter, the farm succession process can be divided into four distinct phases.

Phase 1 – Determine where the farm is now;

Phase 2 – Determine where you want the farm to be in the future;

Phase 3 – Create a road map or game plan to get the farm there; and

Phase 4 – Implement the plan.

This month’s newsletter will discuss Phase 2 and the steps used in determining where you want the farm to be in the future.  Determining where you want the farm to be in the future will help clarify priorities, avoid quick fixes, identify a desired outcome, and focus your energy on the most urgent concerns.

Where Do You Want to Be?

Determining where you want the farm to be in the future is really just a matter of setting goals with a timetable for completion.  Some questions to ask may include:

  • What would you like to see happen to the farm?

    • Will a son or daughter take over, or maybe a niece or nephew?

    • Does the farm need to grow?

    • Does the farm need to diversify?

    • Does the farm need to relocate?

  • What will your role be in the farm?

    • Will you continue to be an owner?

    • Will you continue to be a manager?

  • What would you not want to see happen?

    • Will the farm be sold?

    • Will there be family turmoil?

    • Insolvency?

In answering these questions and creating your vision, it is important to be specific.  Being specific about where you want to go after your previous evaluation of where you are allows you to create a better road map for reaching the desired destination.

When Do You Want to Arrive?

You should always be looking at where you want to go in terms of a timeline.  Where do you want to be in three years, in five years, in ten years?  It is important not to just think in terms of the number of years, but in terms of a specific date.  We want to have Tom managing the operation by January 1, 2019.  Using a date instead of just years helps avoid the rolling five.  This is where everything is always five years out.  We want Tom in management in five years, but then next year it is still in five years.  Be specific with dates.  They can always be adjusted, but they set a more clearly defined objective.

Helen Keller is quoted as saying: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”  Phase 2 of the farm succession process will work through your vision of the future so that you can embark on the next phase – developing your plan.

This Newsletter is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Hallock & Hallock and the reader.