Have you begun to transition your farm to the next generation and plan the transfer of your estate? Estate planning is often pushed aside until it is too late. However, the process of creating a plan for transfer of property from one generation to another is a critical step to avoid hefty taxes, maintain family unity and ease anxiety after the death of a family member. Estate tax laws have been changing, land values have been escalating, and family needs may have been altered so thinking through the best options has become crucial for many farmers. To get you started, the University of Maryland Extension is conducting a Farm Transition and Estate Planning Workshop. This three session workshop will help farm families understand and begin to complete a succession and estate plan for their farms. The sessions will be conducted on Tuesdays, March 13, 20, and 27 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm. They will be televised from College Park to University of Maryland Extension Offices in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll Counties. Each week the entire family will participate and be assigned homework to help them set goals and begin to organize their materials to prepare them to meet with a lawyer and other professionals that will help them complete their succession & estate plan. Two topics will be presented each week. Cost is $25 per farm/couple. To reserve a seat call the Carroll County Extension office before noon, March 12. March 13 Preparing to Transfer the Farm Business A good plan takes into consideration the goals of the individual, the family and farm business(es). They serve as the primary guiding principles for the farm transition and estate plan. Begin the process of discovering your family's goals. Major Tax Considerations When Transferring Assets Learn about the major tax issues to consider - basis, stepped up basis, loss of stepped up basis, capital gains tax, state and federal taxes, gift tax, and special use valuations. March 20 Overview of Farm Transfer Strategies Gain an understanding of transfer strategies such as partnerships, corporations, LLP and LLC, as well as transfer techniques like gifting and installment sales. Financial Consideration in Transferring the Farm Success of the plan hinges on financial stability and whether the business(es) can generate enough income for both the retiring generation and the succession generation. Or can additional activities be added to help with the transition? March 27 Treatment of Heirs and Available Financial Assistance Gain an understanding of fair and equitable treatment of heirs that want to farm and those that won't be active farm participants, as well as strategies such as buy-out provisions to ensure the farm business can survive. Estate Planning and the Transfer Process Learn about all the tools of estate planning such as wills, trusts, life estate, power-of-attorney, health care directives, life insurance and a number of other strategies. 03.07.2012