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Keeping the family farm in the family

There are many families in the Kent area who have a connection to a family farm. There are still hundreds of family farms across Washington, many of them that have been in the same family for generations. Keeping these farms in the family is important for many residents and this can require planning and estate administration.

If a family is interested in keeping the family farm in the family it can require advanced estate planning. A farm is a business and a business succession plan is a good way to transition the farm to the next generation. When there isn't a business succession plan the farm may not be able to be passed on. In fact, only around 30 percent of family farms in the United States are passed to the next generation.

There are two main ways to transfer farm ownership. One way is to use the annual gift-tax exclusion. This allows a person to give away $14,000 per person per year and a couple can give up to $28,000 worth of stock of the company to each child. The lifetime amount each spouse can give is $5.45 million. The second way is with a buy-sell agreement. This is where the seller must sell and the buyer must buy at a predetermined time. This can be death, retirement or a disability.

A family farm is a precious asset for many people in Washington. Planning to keep the family farm in the family is important. A legal professional skilled in estate planning can help a family figure out the best way to make sure the farm stays with the family for many generations to come.

Source:, "Bonnie Kraham: Continuation of family farm requires planning," Bonnie Kraham, March 30, 2016

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