WealthCounsel(R) Announces Pilot Program: | TheFencePost.com

WealthCounsel(R) Announces Pilot Program:

WealthCounsel announced during opening remarks at its eleventh annual

estate planning conference that the company is forming a pilot program to

address the estate planning needs of aging farmers. The pilot program,

which will engage the efforts of WealthCounsel’s network of member

attorneys located in the nation’s key farm-producing states, will be

discussed at an informal meeting at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio on

Friday, June 13, 2008, at 7:00 a.m. In addition to WealthCounsel attorneys,

the news media and qualified interested parties are invited to attend.

According to a report published by the U. S. Department of

Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, the succession planning decisions

of farmers are of considerable importance to the farming community and to

our nation’s food supply. The successful management and intergenerational

transfer of farming operations is high on the priority list for many

political leaders, as indicated by the recent enactment of the 2008 Farm


“Research indicates that over one-fourth of all farmers and half of all

agricultural landlords are age 65 or older,” said Stan Miller, a

WealthCounsel principal. “Because the data we are seeing suggests that only

a fraction of the nation’s farmers have a succession or estate plan in

place, we believe the time to address these issues is now,” Miller added.

Miller indicated that WealthCounsel is in a unique position to help

coordinate existing efforts underway by public and private groups in

various farming communities that are dedicated to sounding the alarm

regarding the need for farmers to work with an estate planning attorney to

properly manage assets and the intergenerational transfer of those assets.

He pointed out that in just four of the USDA’s top 10 farming states,

(California, Texas, Illinois, and Florida), that there are nearly 350

estate planning attorneys who hold membership in WealthCounsel.

“Working with an attorney who understands agriculture and who

specializes in business succession, estate planning, and elder law is

critical, rather than an attorney who is a generalist,” said Brenda Vassaur

Taylor, a WealthCounsel attorney from Fayetteville, Arkansas whose law

practice focuses on farm planning. “Farm business succession and the

associated aspects of estate planning are very complicated and change

frequently, so it is crucial to have up-to-date information on tax laws and

agricultural incentives,” Taylor added.

Taylor noted that one of the more alarming statistics she had

encountered came from a survey conducted in 2000 by Iowa State University

which found that more than 50 percent of Iowa farmers had no estate plan

and 71 percent had not named a successor.

For more information about the June 13, 2008 meeting at the Hyatt

Regency in San Antonio, contact Marlene Frith of WealthCounsel at

888-659-4069, ext. 817.

About WealthCounsel(R)

WealthCounsel(R) is a registered trademark of WealthCounsel, LLC, a

membership-based organization of more than 1,000 firms throughout all 50

states. The company is known for its Five-Star Practice Solution(TM), which

includes a unique blend of its WealthDocs(TM) document drafting software, a

collaborative community of attorney practitioners, listserv discussion

forums, relevant CLE, and practice building resources. WealthCounsel shares

ownership in ElderCounsel, LLC, and the Advisors Forum, LLC. For more

information, visit http://www.wealthcounsel.com.