I am the oldest of 2 childern of 2 living parents that jointly own a 125 Farm. It has always been their intention to leave the farm to both of us equally. However my brother is set to be married at the end of this year. All of us collectively want to establish some sort of estate model. I. E. we dont want a wife to be intitled to any of it if a divorce/death were to occur. He has his own house miles away and me and my parents live on the farm. What is the best way to go about setting something up?125 acre farm
There are two issues which you might want to discuss with a lawyer. First, you might want to consider creating a partnership or and LLC to own the farm. The partners or members of the LLC could create an agreement which limits their rights to pass on interests in the farm to their children or trusts for their children.
Another issue is having your brother and his prospective wife enter into a pre-nuptial agreement. The farm could be specifically exempted from any assets distributable to the wife in case of divorce or death.
Another advantage of an LLC or limited partnership is creditor protection.
I can let you have the name of a lawyer [not in NJ] with whom I've taught continuing education programs. He has a lot of experience with farm planning. You can e-mail me at [email protected]
Jeffrey LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Atty. Crown is licensed to practice law in Connecticut with an office in Rocky Hill. His phone number is 860-257-4330 and his email address is [email protected]
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The best way to provide the asset protection for the family farm that you are suggesting is your goal (and hopefully, your parents as well!) is to have the owners establish a revocable trust and transfer the farm to that trust. Make sure that the language of the trust mandates that the land is left 'in trust' to each of you with rules governing how it could be sold and limiting who would be entitled to inherit when each of you die. These are just two obvious considerations but there are many other things you all must think through. In fact, if the land could be subdivided now so that you didn’t have to worry about how your brother plans to manage his half it might be less troublesome for all concerned. If that is not possible or even desirable, keep in mind that what you are asking for is a fairly complex that without a well conceived plan could result in a lot of unintended consequences for both of you. Please seek the advice of a qualified estate planning attorney in your area. Good luck.
As with most things there is no one way to accomplish your goals which is clearly superior in all events to other methods. The best thing for your parents to do is meet with an experienced estate planner to go over their particular facts and goals. If I can be of any assistance please contact me to discuss things further.
Very truly yours,
Law Office of Edward J. Smeltzer II
180B Tices Lane, Suite 103
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: 732-246-3131 Fax: 866-824-4779
NOTE: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
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