Attorney Randall H. Borkus’ family comes from a long line of dairy farmers from Ladysmith, Wisconsin. After years of dairy market struggles Randall’s grandfather Henry moved the family south to seek work and opportunity. Unfortunately, the Borkus family farm did not survive for a lack of guidance and planning.
This family history has fueled Randall’s life ‘passion to dedicate his life to helping families preserve their bloodlines, their land and their legacies.
For the past 18 years Randall has assisted hundreds of farm and ranch families throughout Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, throughout the Midwest.
When it comes to preserving a family legacies and bloodlines traditional estate planning simply doesn’t fit for most farmers and ranchers. Keeping a farm or ranch in the family requires understanding family dynamics coupled with the implementation of unique customized planning strategies. These are not taught in schools and are r-the result of years of experience. Because of the complex nature of farm and ranch estates, traditional planning approaches simply fall short.
Farming and ranching life is unique, and like no other lifestyle. The value system is deep and immovable. The family values are tough and deeply rooted in family tradition. It is equally as tough to pass the operations on to your children and maintain the family heritage and bloodline preservation which is so vital to all farming and ranching families.
Our firm’s unique approach to farmer and rancher bloodline preservation planning is designed to keep the farm and ranch in the family.
KEEPING IT THE FAMILY (FARMERS, RANCHERS AND FAMILIES)
You spent your whole life and worked hard. In the face of what felt like impossible odds you continued to work hard and persevere. When others thought it impractical you bought more land at every opportunity. Now you your responsibility points towards stewardship. It’s time you chisel out a solid plan to transition the family farm to the next generation.
Our firm is here to help guide you through this transition.
FAIR AND EQUAL IS NOT THE SAME
No farm or ranch was built without the help of your sons and daughters. The land holds the family values and legacy. As you think through your estate planning, we’ll encourage you to think long and hard about answering the rhetorical question; “what is fair to all of our children?” “How do we accomplish fair?”
Saying you want everything split equally between your children is rarely fair. Finding true fairness is critical to protecting your family, your legacy and your bloodline.Moreover, mishandling fair and equal will impact the family unity. If you ignore this the family farm or ranch will go to the highest bidder and jettison the family bloodline.
The world has changed a lot. Historically, your children married neighbors, had a family and continued the family farming and ranching legacy. Daughters and Sons became farmers or ranchers.
Now a days, families have at most one or two children still in the farming or ranching operation. The others have moved on and away into different careers. The child who is heavily invested—in time, energy and dedication—may very well depend on this farm or ranch for their livelihood. To some degree he or she has earned the “right” to keep it, considering that the other children have moved on to lucrative careers and less risky ventures.
Despite the changes in society, your core values remain unchanged. You want to treat your children fairly. Farming and ranching is “in your blood” and you want to see it—the farm or ranch —go on. You want to know someone in the next generation that shares your love of farming and ranching will carry on the family legacy.
YOU MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
The hopeful but naive person says, “I just can’t figure it out for them. My kids all get along, they’ll be fair with each other. They’ll divide the property agreeably.” Please don’t do that to your family.
The wonderful kids today may well become competitors tomorrow; easily persuaded that they are entitled to their full-value, equal share of the farm.
So, take control of your estate planning and focus on the results you want to see. Let the attorney worry about what paperwork—the wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements, partnerships, etc.—will be needed.
How to Implement your plan
This is your life’s work and your stewardship responsibility. Start by making a commitment to get to know an attorney who has the requite experience and a history of working with multiple generations on the farm or ranch. This is a complex area of estate planning and you will need professional counsel to navigate the pitfalls.
Many attorneys have estate planning experience with Wills and deeds; however, finding someone who understands the intricacies of farming and ranching transition planning is rare.
To see if an attorney can help design a plan to fit your circumstances, ask some practical questions:
- Is the lawyer you’re meeting with a partner and full-time employee or merely a contract employee?
- What percentage of their business comes from one financial firm?
- Do they work with the same financial firm in multiple states?
- What percentage of their business is devoted to estate planning for farmers and ranchers?
- Have they helped the family administer an estate plan?
- How will does the attorney assure that your plan stays current?
Most importantly, you’ll want a law firm that is independent and not tied to only one financial firm. Next, you’ll want a law firm that has experience planning with farmers and ranchers. And finally, you’ll want a law firm with experience administering the transition from one generation to the next.
The Borkuslaw Group is here for you!