Your vineyard may be the result of a long-held dream come true after decades of hard work, or it may be a legacy passed down through your family for generations already. However you acquired the vineyard, you may have specific intentions for the property and the business after you die or retire.
Adequate estate planning is important for all adults, but especially for business owners. There are a few unique considerations that you need to factor into your estate planning measures when you own a vineyard.
How to successfully pass the company to the next generation
It isn’t always easy to transfer ownership of farmland or a business. There is always the risk of someone challenging your wishes in probate court because of the value of the land.
Trusts can be important succession tools for those with valuable property or a business that they want to transfer to someone else. A trust can even be useful if you want to sell the property or business to benefit your loved ones after you die, as you can name someone competent to manage the trust assets and their sale and provide detailed instructions about the distribution of the resulting proceeds.
How to reduce taxes or land use issues
Vineyard owners need to double-check their plans to ensure that they won’t accidentally trigger capital gains taxes or estate taxes. There’s also the possibility that an intergenerational transfer of the property could make the property susceptible to new land use restrictions that could impact how the vineyard operates in the future.
Some vineyard owners will find that using a trust to hold the ownership of the land can be a way to avoid land use and tax complications at the time of their death or the transfer of the property.
How to reduce conflicts and challenges over the estate plan
The people you love aren’t necessarily the people who should run the business that will make up the majority of your legacy. If you decide to give ownership of the business to family but management to someone from within the company, you need to make sure that everyone understands your intentions. You may also want to leave instructions about how you expect the new owner or manager to run the vineyard so that it will remain successful and reflect your values even after your passing.
Addressing these and other estate planning concerns will help vineyard owners and others with complex assets achieve their planning goals.