In order to be sure you have a positive experience with intergenerational transfer, please consider using a team approach. Not only will the team members be a benefit in their own areas of expertise, but this will also help develop a strong working relationship between the team and family members. Below is a suggested list of members that we feel should be a part of your team:
Family members need to have intergenerational buy-in to make the process work. Family members not involved in the process from the get-go will likely be hesitant at some point. They need to “buy-in” before other team members are contacted.
- Family communication facilitator works with the family to establish family goals, family meeting organization, and may facilitate the first few family meetings. This is the second team member to engage.
- Appraisers determine the value of the land, consider any current or pending conservation or overriding easement on the land, and may provide timber value if they have the training, expertise, and certification in that area.
- Conservation specialist will provide options on establishment of conservation easements, if needed.
- Consulting forester can provide land and timber management options as well as a value for the timber. They may provide land value with appropriate training, expertise, and certification in that area
- Estate planning attorneys develop wills, trusts, or a business entity (e.g. limited partnership, limited liability corporation, etc.) that provides structure to family business and a means for future land ownership
- Financial planners review the overall financial picture, including assets along with land and timber. They suggest ways to provide for future financial needs and can work with the forester to prepare return on investment estimations
- Tax attorney or CPA will help develop strategies to minimize taxes, predict impact of taxes on future land values, and prepare income and/or estate tax forms
Other than family members and a facilitator, each team may not need all of these suggestions. This will depend on each family’s specific situation.
Sometimes the current generation gets involved in the details of succession and do not “see the forest for the trees.” That type of involvement can lead to wasted time working on details to which everyone might not agree once they are all exposed to them. A family communication facilitator involved early in the process can help develop and flesh out the family’s goals and to be sure the family is actively communicating with each other. If not, then the other team members may not know where to begin with their responsibilities, will feel left out, may be confused, may feel threatened, etc. which will lead to a lot of “wheel spinning” with little progress.
If you feel Landowner Legacy Communications can be helpful in establishing or solidifying your family’s plan for intergenerational transfer, please contact me. We are willing to work with families in any way possible.