3 important steps for estate planning as a vineyard owner

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Owning a vineyard is more than a full-time job. It may also be a passion and can be a way of life. From maintaining the right genetics for your fruit to crafting unique blends based on the harvest each year, you probably take great pride in your business. You would like to see it pass on to a specific person who shares your passion or respect your vision.

Estate planning when you own a complex asset like a vineyard can be quite complicated. You have to worry about everything from taxes to the transfer of licensing. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to simplify the process.

Be honest with the person you want to inherit the property

Taking over a vineyard is a huge responsibility. There is land to care for and plants to cultivate. There is a brand to develop and product to age and store. Not everyone will want to take on that much responsibility.

As an inheritance, receiving a vineyard is both a blessing and a possible burden. It’s important to actually talk to the family member, friend or business associate that you want to have take over the vineyard to ensure that they are up to the challenge and won’t just sell your business.

Protect your wishes by making it hard for people to undermine them

If you simply grant ownership of the vineyard for the business outright to someone else, they can do whatever they want with your vineyard after that transfer.

They could tear out all of your grapevines and have the property rezoned and sold off to developers who want to build residential homes. They might impose their own vision on your company and completely destroy the brand you made. They could also make mistakes that could affect your business, like getting divorced.

Moving your business or the land into a trust protects it from creditor claims and divorce. It also allows you to retain some control over what happens with the property even after you die.

Create a thorough succession plan to help someone step into your shoes

The potential is there for so much to go wrong during this crucial transition. You can facilitate a smooth transition and protect the future of your business by creating an in-depth succession plan. Detailing the necessary training and the daily obligations for your role at the company will make it easier for your successor to take over.

Thinking about unique estate planning challenges can help you feel comfortable about what will happen to your vineyard when you die.