Cornell small grain trial harvest Hudson Valley 2014
Image by Justin O'Dea

Plan now for a smooth transfer of your farm.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning & Business Transfer

To many people estate planning means determining how property will be distributed from one generation to the next. In reality it includes how property will be owned, how the business will be organized, and the tax and legal implications for that business. A successful plan involves identifying what the goals are of the current and future business owners and those heirs living off of the farm.  A successful plan also relies on the expertise of attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, and financial planners. 


Cornell Law School is pleased to announce the return of our Estate Planning Practicum in the Spring of 2024. As in the past, the course will assist those who do not have access to an estate planning attorney and will provide clients with a basic estate plan that includes a last will and testament, a living will, a health care proxy and power of attorney, all tailored according to the client’s wishes. Law students will prepare and finalize these documents under the supervision of attorneys who specialize in trusts and estates.

Farmers will find Estate and Succession Planning for Small Business Owners a useful resource as they start to think about this process.

Profiles of Successful Farm Transfers on Long Island is another useful reference delves into examples of the succession strategies of 8 Long Island Farms and includes information on business structures, succession planning, and factors that lead to successful farm business transfers.

New York FarmNet works with farm families to provide a network of contacts and support services to help them develop skills for dealing with life challenges and transitions through personalized education, confidential consulting, and referral. FarmNet can be contacted by calling 1-800-547-FARM

University of Minnesota Extension developed a series of 10 Factsheets to assist farm owners with transferring the farm business to the next generation owner.

When to Exit Dairy Farming explores when it is appropriate for dairy farmers to consider and act to sell their dairy cattle.

The Farm Journal Legacy Program was launched in 2010 to assist farmers in transitioning the business to the next generation owner. The succession planning program hosts 12 events in a different city each year. The program also includes online case studies, tools and techniques, and resources to assist farmers when transitioning the business.

Last updated December 21, 2023