Q&A: Share and share alike. Except nothing’s on paper

Question:

I farm with a family member and we don’t really have a formal ownership structure. We consider everything 50/50. Is there anything I should do to make sure we are on the same page?

Answer:

First off, you don’t want to start a family fight. It’s probably not the best idea to come up to your family members and announce: “I got a lawyer to make sure I get what’s mine.”

Start with a friendly chat to make sure you’re on the same page. There are many resources and services to help facilitate these difficult discussions. Even if everyone agrees, it is a good idea to reduce these understandings into writing to avoid confusion in the future. Is the next generation aware of these arrangements? What if you were suddenly unable to communicate or continue farming?

While you both may consider everything 50/50, it’s best to have structure in writing that outlines this. A formal structure is especially handy when one of you would like to retire, or in the event one of you should suddenly pass away.

Acting as your lawyers, we can help you set up a corporation, a partnership or a joint venture depending on your needs. Assets such as farming equipment and land can be transferred to the corporation and governance structures can be put in place.

A formal ownership structure is not only useful for avoiding fights. It can also be an effective tax planning tool. We work hard to ensure your individual needs are met and that the years of hard work you have pureed into your farm are not lost.

Anwers for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Articles & Research Q&A: Share and share alike. Except nothing’s on paper