Much of the productive farm, ranch, and forest lands in Anderson Valley will
change hands over the next few decades. Often the land goes out of production
or is subdivided when it is passed on to heirs or sold. But succession planning
can help provide a more desirable future for your land, creating a sustainable
vision for working lands, fostering a healthy community with local food and
timber sources, and supporting the local economy.
Wills and estate plans (including living trusts and other commonly used
vehicles) are important steps in the succession planning process. A succession
plan, which involves preparing your property and your family for an eventual
change in ownership and leadership, can be a more effective means for passing
on your legacy than a will or estate plan alone. This is particularly the case
where there may be multiple heirs with different levels of interest in staying on
the land and working it.
Succession and estate planning are difficult issues for many of us. Uncertainty
about the future, busy schedules and unfamiliarity with planning resources
often get in the way of making these critical decisions. Helping people
overcome these barriers is an important component of the Anderson Valley
Land Trust’s mission to preserve the Valley’s unique landscape and natural
resources for future generations.
With help from a Community Enrichment grant from the Community
Foundation of Mendocino County, AVLT will be organizing and sponsoring
two workshops this fall and early winter. Both workshops are designed to help
local landowners learn the “whys” and “hows” of succession planning. One of
the workshops (presented in two parts by the UC Cooperative Extension) will
address forestland owners’ issues. The other workshop (presented in
cooperation with California FarmLink) is intended for farm and ranch owners
and their families.
These workshops will introduce the tools, strategies, techniques and resources
available to plan for the continuation of your vision and the productivity of
your land. Workshop topics will include: retirement, succession and estate
planning; operations, management and ownership transfer; legal and tax
strategies; goal-setting; effective family meetings and inter-generational
communication; and tools for conserving/preserving lands and natural
resources. A conservation easement can play a valuable role in some
succession plans, but the scope of these workshops is much broader than
conservation easements alone.
Succession Planning for Forestland Owners:
Ties to the Land with Gregory Giusti, UC Cooperative Extension
Thursday, October 24, 2013 and Thursday, January 30, 2014 (evening workshops) in Boonville
Forest landowners and their families are invited to a two-part workshop designed to help guide them through a smooth succession process. Tools and resources will be provided to help families make the decisions necessary to pass their land and legacy to succeeding generations. This workshop will focus on family communication, financial and legal aspects (trusts, limited liability companies, easements, etc.), and specific resource management planning approaches. You can:
• Learn the steps to succession planning
• Clarify your values and goals for your family forest
• Take home tools to determine your heir’s interests
• Learn about legal and other business considerations
• Understand the financial impacts of ownership transfers across generations
Multiple members of the family are encouraged to attend both parts of the workshop. A helpful take-home workbook, including a companion DVD, will be available.
Farm and Ranch Succession Planning
Friday, November 15, 2013, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Boonville
State and local professionals will provide sound legal and financial planning advice to familiarize farmers, ranchers and their families with key succession-planning resources. The workshop will offer practical tools to help families plan for their land’s continued production in the future. We will address questions such as:
• Who will run my farm/ranch when I retire or am no longer capable of running it?
• What can I do to help make sure they are successful while protecting my interests?
• When is the best time to start addressing these difficult questions?
This workshop is especially useful for farm and ranch families thinking of transfering their working lands to the next generation — it is never too soon to start. Topics in this day-long workshop on transitioning agricultural lands and businesses to the next generation will include:
• estate & tax planning
• financial management
• business transfers
• family communication
Presenters will include an estate planning attorney, a farm business accountant or financial planner, a communication/mediation specialist and a farmer/rancher who has successfully planned for the succession of a family land and business.
To find out more about these workshops, please contact Shelly at the AVLT office at 895-3150.