If you hear of someone heading off to her attorney to do their succession planning, it’s really just one of several meetings that are necessary to draft a sound succession plan, says Dairy Herd in the article “Estate Planning Is A Process, Not An Event.”
In fact, succession planning is a process. Ten years of time can fly by very quickly, so the earlier you can start having these conversations with your attorney, the better.
The amount of time needed to draft a solid succession plan is different for every family. If things are fairly straightforward, it may take only six to nine months. However, it’s not uncommon for this process to take a year or more.
That’s especially true in the ag sector, because once the good weather arrives, this process slows down to a halt—good weather means that everyone is focused on crop production.
There’s no magic age to start the process, but again, sooner is better.
You can spend your entire career building your business. However, very few people have really spent much time thinking about how they will effectively exit from it.
You may not be thinking of retiring or transitioning the farm operation for 15 or 20 years but having an idea of where you're trying to get, gives you a better track on which to run.
Succession planning should happen well before retirement, so that’s why the best plans are flexible and adaptable.
Every plan is unique to each family's particular farm operation and circumstances.
The best plans are dynamic and draw on the expertise of an entire team of professionals. That way you're seeing all of those issues and changes along the way.