Owning a family-owned business or a family farm is hard but rewarding work. When you have built something with your own two hands to serve as your family legacy, you need to do everything possible to protect what you have worked for. This means creating a plan for incapacity, for protection of assets and for what will happen to the property after you pass away.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior understands the unique challenges and opportunities faced by owners of family businesses and farms. We help you to make sure your organization can last long beyond your years and that your loved ones can continue working the land even after you are gone. To learn more about the personalized service our Maryland estate planning and elder law lawyers can provide to family farm and business owners, give us a call at 410-573-4818 or 301-970-8080. We are also ready to answer questions you may be facing including:
- What risks do owners of farms and family businesses need to address?
- What legal tools are available to protect my farm, my business, and my family?
- How can an Maryland estate planning and elder law lawyer help protect a family farm or business in Maryland?
What Risks Are Faced By Owners of Family Farms and Businesses in Maryland?
Farm owners and family business owners have unique assets which bring with them both opportunities and challenges. Business owners, for example, could face the risk of personal liability and loss of personal assets if a company faces a lawsuit or if a business goes bankrupt. Farm and family business owners could also be forced to sell land or assets if they need expensive nursing home care they cannot afford.
Both family businesses and farms need to be managed carefully to ensure operations are ongoing and effective and to ensure farmland and valuable business assets are cared for. As a result, there is a significant risk of loss if the owner of the farm or company becomes incapacitated or passes away without making provisions for the fast and effective transfer of authority to someone who can successfully manage the farm or the company.
Finally, there is a risk that farmland and business assets will push the value of an estate above the taxable limit. The result of this is that a substantial estate tax may be assessed, and there may be no money to pay it because the wealth is all tied up in the land or in business assets. Heirs could end up forced to take a loan or even to sell off a legacy in order to be able to pay the taxes after inheriting a farm or a family business.
What Legal Tools Can Help Protect Farm Owners or Family Business Owners?
It is essential that you take smart steps to protect your farm and to protect your company. This means making sure that you use all available legal tools to ensure the property and company are always managed correctly, and to reduce estate taxes.
You also want to take other asset protection steps in case you need to go into a nursing home, and to make sure heirs cannot mismanage their inheritance and cause losses after you pass the farm or business on to the next generation.
An Maryland estate planning and elder law lawyer can help you to explore the different legal tools which can be used to provide protection. Options may include incorporating your business; structuring ownership strategically through the use of trusts; and creating a living trust or power of attorney so a trusted person can manage the farm or the company in case of incapacity.
Estate planning is also going to be important, not only to reduce or eliminate estate tax, but also to make sure the farm or business can transfer quickly to new owners. There are often ways to facilitate the transfer outside of probate so the process can occur more quickly.
How Can a Maryland Estate Planning and Elder Law Lawyer Help Protect a Farm or Business?
If you are the owner of a farm or a family business in Annapolis, Bowie, Millersville, Waldorf and surrounding areas in Maryland, Sinclair Prosser Gasior is ready and waiting to help you protect your company or your land. We know that you care deeply about all you have built and we will give you the personalized, focused attention you deserve as we prepare a comprehensive farm or business protection plan. Give us a call at 410-573-4818, 301-970-8080 or contact us online to learn more about the services we can offer to you.