Preserving the Family Farm

In Northern Michigan, family farms are the largest asset of many family estates.  These family farms have been held for generations – they reflect the blood, sweat and tears associated with years of hard work.

How these farms can continue to be handed down to future generations is a key component of the comprehensive estate plan.

First, as with other aspects of estate planning, the first step is a family discussion.  While you may treasure your farm – for what it has meant to you – for what it has done for you – this may not be the outlook of the younger generation.  To you, there is comfort and pride in knowing that your grandfather worked this property to provide for his family, which in turn your father or mother did, and which you have done.  While it is an incredibly difficult discussion to have – it is vitally important.  Do any of the next generation want the family farm.

Can the next generation afford to keep and maintain the property? Where do they live?  Do they have the resources to maintain the property?

The Use of LLC’s:

A good vehicle for passing on the family owned farm is a Limited Liability Corporation.  This type of closely held corporation permits the parents to maintain control of the use and operation of the land and business while allowing for an orderly transition to the next generation.

The LLC can own the land, the buildings and the equipment.  The parents can own a majority of the membership interests and can serve as the Managers of the business during their lifetimes.

The minority membership interests can be purchased or gifted to the children over time.  This allows the parents to gift significant estate assets to their children over their lifetime, thereby reducing the value of their estate for estate tax purposes.  The children are given the opportunity to acquire ownership of the farm while they engage in a learning mode – over time learning the business.

This can also be used effectively when one or two of the children want to run the family farm and the other children prefer to take a less prominent role.  The future farm managers can acquire or be gifted a larger membership interest and can assume the management of the operation when the parents are ready to step aside.

Using the appropriate legal tools, the family owned farm can remain in the family for generations – preserving the original vision of the elder generation and meeting the needs of the current and future generations.

  • RSS Feed
  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


Linda E Wasielewski
attorney & mediator
3199 Logan Valley Road
Traverse City, MI 49684
Phone: (231) 933-0829


Linda is a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to Estate Planning and Probate matters. She is quick, efficient and thorough. Linda is an especially skilled professional because she can talk about legal matters without making her [...]
Linda is knowledgable, organized and professional. She can be counted on to be dependable and get the work done. She has the right mix of professionalism mixed with a good sense of humore and balance.
Linda was quick to respond to our questions, and followed through on a timely basis. We would highly recommend Linda's services.
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Linda Wasielewski. I have known her for three years. Linda has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility, and ambition. She is definitely a leader rather than a follower. She is [...]
Linda provided wills for my husband and me. They include Health information,living will and power of attorney and executor for each of us. She did a great job and we are happy to reccomend her. She has much knowledge in this (Estate)and other [...]
Linda puts her clients' best interests first and foremost. Her knowledge of estate planning law is extensive and Linda promotes basic planning tips. I would recommend Linda for any of your legal needs.
Linda's standards and ethics are the driving force behind her work! She is easy to work with and very accountable with regard to personal and secure matters. Her abilities are far reaching and because of that I will always choose not only work [...]
Linda is a true professional and gives very forward thinking and consultative advice. She was instrumental in assisting us in setting up a limited liability corporation. She is an expert in many areas of the law, from business incorporations to [...]
Linda is a very professional and thoughtful attorney in Traverse City, Michigan. She is well respected in our community and I would refer any of my customers to her for their legal needs.
I have used Linda as an attorney personally and professionally. I have been able to trust Linda with the many families that I have had the opportunity to work with over the past 5 years. I trust that she will be sensative, helpful and generous [...]
Linda is an intelligent, knowledgeable and compassionate woman. She is an excellent attorney who works diligently for her clients. In the courtroom the judges and other attorneys respect her. Linda is active in the community and enjoys working [...]
Linda is a pleasure to work with, she is knowledgeable and helpful.
Linda has provided me with expert legal assistance from estate planning to personal counseling. I highly recommend her!
Linda is a part of our UBS Financial Services Attorney Network. I recommended her to one of my UBS clients who lives in Michigan. She did a great job for my clients and we are all very pleased.