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.
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.