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CPAs Net

Operational Succession Planning – Part 1 of 3

April 06, 2016
Payne, Nickles & Company

So what happens to your farm or business; operation, assets such as land, buildings, equipment, etc. if you were to not make it home tonight? Who inherits the “ownership” of your business? Who inherits your assets? Are they the same people?  Is it who you want it to be? Are they prepared to run the operations? We are asking several questions that are meant to be thought provoking. Every situation is unique and requires special attention. 

Do not feel like you are alone no matter where you are at in the planning process, whether that be no real documented plan or a fully laid out, documented plan. This is something that is facing businesses of all industries and is becoming an ever more important topic as the baby boomer generation ages. 

This topic is not something that we like to think about, but it is something that every one of us that owns a business should be asking ourselves and it becomes increasingly more important the older we all get. 

Now where do we begin? What considerations are there for you to think about? One thing to note is that long-term planning is preferred and much different than emergency planning (something happens to you and your spouse today and there is no one ready or willing to continue on the operation…what do they do?)

Some of the main considerations to think about are:


  • Will there be multiple generations involved? Do you have children and possibly grandchildren that will run the farm or business when you are gone?
  • Will the future generations that inherit your farm stay in agriculture?
  • Is there a non-family member involved in operations?
  • Another key point in farming transition is that industry does not have a mandatory retirement age or any other age restrictions. So how are you going to develop future leaders? 


So what factors will your plan depend on? 


  • Who are your planned successors? Will the successor owners be the same as the operators?
  • What is the current structure and ownership of the entity? Is there a better alternative?
  • How do you provide continuity for the operation?
  • What is the value of your total assets? Is there an estate or gift tax issue?


These are just a few of the different items that need to be considered before putting a plan together. Part 2 will drill down a little more at looking at your successors, entity issues and management continuity. 

Treasury Circular 230 Disclosure

Unless expressly stated otherwise, any federal tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or for promoting, marketing, or recommending any transaction or matter addressed herein.