Publications: Estate Planning and Taxation


Keeping Farmland in the Family

Robert Moore, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension
Peggy Kirk Hall, Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension

Handing down the heritage that comes with owning farmland is a common goal of farm families. But there are many risks that can take farmland out of the family and separate future generations from a farm heritage. For those who want to keep farmland in the family, it is necessary to address the risks through planning. This publication offers information on each step of the planning process. Download this articlePosted 4/17/2023.

Long-Term Care and the Farm

Robert Moore, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension

Family farms are unique from other types of businesses in that a family farm is not just a business. The family farm is also a way of life and a celebration of family heritiage. For most farm families, a primary goal of estate and succession planning is continuing that family farm legacy for future generations. This publication provides a basic explanation of Long-Term Care (LTC) issues and strategies that my minimize exposure to LTC risks. Download this articlePosted 4/17/2023

Planning for the Future of Your Farm: Factsheet Series

Peggy Kirk Hall, Director OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension
Robert Moore, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension
Evin Bachelor, Attorney, Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA Delaware, OH
Kelly Moore, Attorney, Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA Delaware, OH

Farming takes planning. Whether for next year’s crop, expanding a herd, buying land, constructing buildings, starting a new venture, or upgrading equipment, farmers are nearly always engaged in planning to keep the farm on track.  But farm transition planning — that is, planning for what happens to a farm business and its family from one generation to the next — is a whole different kind of planning. And it’s one type of planning farmers often avoid.  This series explains the legal tools used for planning and present strategies that can address a family’s goals.

Planning for the Future Series Overview
What to Expect
The Financial Power of Attorney
The Health Care Power of Attorney and Advance Directives
Wills and Will-based Farm Transition Plans
Legal Tools for Avoiding Probate
Gifting Assets Prior to Death
Using Trusts in Farm Transition Planning
Using Business Entities in Farm Transition Planning
Strategies for Treating Heirs Equitably
Strategies for Transferring Equipment and Livestock

Download combined factsheets Posted August 18, 2022

Heirs Property In Arkansas

Rusty Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center
Sarah Keith, National Agricultural Law Center Research Fellow

“Heirs property” has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities, especially in the southern United States.  Often, a heirs property situation occurs when a landowner passes away “intestate,” without a will or other estate plan.  The resulting fractional ownership greatly increases the risk that an heir, in attempting to separate their interests, will force a partition sale of the property, or that the land will be lost to tax default.  To combat that loss, 19 states including Arkansas have enacted the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (“UPHPA”).  This factsheet, explains how UPHPA works in Arkansas, while also outlining the foundations upon which the law is built, including intestate succession and partition actions, in order to demonstrate how the UPHPA modifies them.  Download this article Posted 11/12/2021 


Intestate Succession and Agriculture

Drew Mitchell, Research Fellow; National Agricultural Law Center
Rusty Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center

Possessing a clear title to property has been a necessity for acquiring loans, enrollment in government programs, and other fundamental business transactions. In inheritance situations, title to property has passed from family members to their descendants through various methods such as wills, trusts, and intestate succession. Depending on the jurisdiction, transfers of land through intestate succession may look substantially different from state to state. A phrase often used to describe land that has been inherited by multiple people through the process of intestate succession is “heir property.” Heir property has continued to be a challenging problem for landowners that own real estate as tenants in common with other people. This paper will outline those concerns, discuss how the situation is created, and look at possible solutions that some states are adopting to address this issue. Download this article Posted 1/22/20 


Differential Tax Assessment of Agricultural Lands

Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow- Agricultural and Resource Law Program; Ohio State University Extension
Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor- Agricultural and Resource Law Program; Ohio State University Extension

Property taxes are a fact of life for virtually all landowners in the United States, including farmers and ranchers.  However, all states have laws that tax agricultural land differently than other lands to lower the amount of property taxes farmers and ranchers pay.  The purposes of these “differential tax assessment” laws for farmland are varied, and can be to maintain the economic viability of farming,  remove incentives to  develop agricultural land, protect environmental benefits of farmland, and tax agricultural land according to its cost of community services.  Generally, differential tax assessment discounts the value of the land to reflect its use for agricultural purposes rather than for residential, commercial, or industrial development.  But no two state laws are exactly alike in the specifics of what land qualifies for the assessment, how to calculate the agricultural value of land, and penalties for removing land from agricultural use.  This compilation presents each state’s provisions for differential tax assessment of agricultural land. Access this compilation Posted 2/18/19 

Agricultural Estate Planning – PowerPoint Presentation

Rusty W. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

This presentation was first given on February 18 2011 to participants at the “Arkansas Rural Life Conference” in Pine Bluff Arkansas. It discusses the current status of the federal estate and gift tax, intestate succession, estate planning tools, and information that must be provided by an agricultural operator to develop a successful estate plan.    Download this presentation Posted April 27, 2011.

An Overview of Special Use Valuation Under 26 U.S.C.A. § 2032A

Rusty W. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

Congress created an estate tax provision that allows for the special valuation of real property that is used in a closely held business or farming operation and transferred to a qualified person at the death of the decedent.  Instead of valuing the property at the fair market value, which values the property at its highest and best use, the special use valuation allows for the property to be valued at its current qualified purpose potentially saving up to $1 million in estate taxes.  This overview goes through the numerous requirements that must be met in order to qualify under this provision of the tax code. Download this article. Posted March 16, 2011.

Farm Transition Planning – PowerPoint Presentation

Elizabeth R. Springsteen Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

This presentation was given at the Arkansas Women in Agriculture Annual Conference on March 1, 2010.  The focus of the presentation is aimed at preparing farmers to not just pass their assets on but to create a structured plan to transition the farming operation to the next generation.  Topics include the transfer of management, the importance of open lines of communication among all interested parties, and the creation of a financially viable strategy to bring the next generation into the farming operation with the least amount of stress.  Download this presentation. Posted March 10, 2010.

Proper Handling of Disaster Payments, Crop Insurance and Livestock Sold On Account of Weather

Roger A.McEowen Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics & Extension Specialist Kansas State University, Manhattan

In 2002, adverse weather conditions caused crop and livestock losses in many parts of the country.  The western United States was hit particularly hard.  This article explores several income tax rules that are designed to soften the blow by allowing preferential treatment of gains and losses realized as a result of weather-related conditions.   Download this article. Posted May 5, 2003.

Should Potential Long-Term Health Care Needs Be a Part of Your Farm Estate Plan?

Roger A. McEowen Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics & Extension Specialist Kansas State University, Manhattan

Long-term health care is becoming an important issue for an increasing number of people.  Not only are people living longer than at any time in the past, the cost of long-term care continues to rise.  Before 1980, the median age of the  population in the United States was 30; estimates are that by 2010 the median age will be 37 – the present median age of Floridians.  The fastest growing portion of the population is those over age 65 and, of that group, the segment consisting of those over the age of 85 is growing the fastest.  As people grow older, they tend to have more health problems, with some people requiring long-term health care.  Consequently, one of the most pressing problems facing a significant portion of the elderly is the cost of long-term health care.  1997 data from the American Health Care Association indicates that the average American male can expect to spend $56,895 on long-term care and the average woman $124,370.   Download this article. Posted: May 5, 2003.