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Passing down the Texas farm through estate planning

Many farmers and ranchers pride themselves on the meticulous care of their homes and property. Texas landowners are no different. A common consideration for someone who has put decades of sweat and toil into running a ranch is ensuring that the tradition will continue upon his or her death. Careful estate planning can often be a means to that end.

A recent online article recommended that the entire family be involved when it comes to laying out the plan for the future of the farm in the event of the current owner's death. It might be prudent to include discussions that allow each family member to share his or her vision for the way the ranch should continue to be managed. Another pertinent topic of conversation would address whether heirs would conduct business "from afar" or take up residence on the property itself.

One attorney, who also holds a master's in range science, stated that, when planning to pass a ranch on to a new generation, it is important to be mindful of various assets, as well as the means by which land can be transferred. Another crucial piece of information is that land may be bequeathed to any living heir or those born within 21 years following a landowner's death. A ranch and/or its contingent land may be inherited by one individual or a group of people.

According to the article, the attorney also suggested that it is never wise to wait until one's death is imminent in order to make decisions as important as what to do with one's property after one is gone. Instead, Texas residents and all other land and ranch owners across the nation are better off giving careful thought to their estate planning while they are still of sound mind and body. Professionals with experience in this field are usually available to assist landowners as they consider what's to become of the land they've worked so hard to own and maintain.

Source: theeagle.com, "Where there's a way, there's a will: transferring your ranch to the next generation", Robert Fears, Jan. 19, 2015

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