I had the chance to write an article pertinent to modern Iowa farmers in a new white paper published by Peoples Company entitled, Your Farmland and the Future: Setting Goals, Taking Action. My piece is focused on the basics of wills, trusts, estates, and estate planning for farmers, farm families, and farm businesses. Peoples Company President, Steve Bruere wrote a great introduction that sums up the need for the paper:
With approximately 30 million crop acres in Iowa, farmland represents over $234 billion of asset value in Iowa alone. According to the latest land tenure study at Iowa State University, 55 percent of Iowa farmland is owned by someone age 65 or older. Using conservative estimates, nearly 50 percent of Iowa farmland could transfer in some form or fashion over the next 20 years. These statistics are similar throughout most of the major agricultural areas in the United States. The future of farmland ownership and agriculture as a whole will look dramatically different than it does today as this wealth transfer occurs. Keeping land in families and local communities is the ideal result, and the only way for this to happen is proper planning.
Regardless if you are a farmer or not, the majority of the estate planning basics apply to ALL Iowans. Scroll to page 26 of this PDF to read the article in full. Also, scroll to page 32 for a great guide to “Write Your Own Farm Legacy Letter.”