Community Agriculture Alliance: CSU Extension to present Estate Planning Workshop
Sensitive issues, such as money, death and family relations are difficult issues not only to bring up, but also to talk about in any depth. It is hard to approach these issues calmly when there are strong feelings about what is important. Some people avoid discussing these subjects because they believe it to be disrespectful and uncomfortable.
A survey of Americans found that parents and adult children were uncomfortable discussing the one-dimensional topic of leaving an inheritance, but both enthusiastically embraced the idea of leaving a legacy.
People think a legacy captures all facets of an individual’s life-including family traditions, history, sharing stories, values and wishes.
For most people, inheritance or estate planning are scary, dry terms. A complete legacy, according to the study, is built on four pillars: values and life lessons; personal possessions of emotional value; Instructions and wishes to be fulfilled; and financial assets/real estate.
Colorado State University Extension will host a legacy-succession-estate planning workshop for Northwest Colorado in Steamboat Springs next week. The program will be presented by Jeff Tranel and Norm Dalsted and is designed to help farm and ranch families to document their wishes and communicate those wishes to family members.
“Everyone should determine what and to whom they want to pass on the legacies of their lives and then communicate those wishes with family members,” said Tranel, a CSU agricultural and business management economist and author of “Leaving a Lasting Legacy.”
“The difficult part of succession and estate planning is talking with family members,” he said. “It is much easier to visit with a qualified accountant and attorney to apply the available tools.”
The daylong workshops will walk participants through the four pillars of a lasting legacy. Past workshop participants have greatly enjoyed Tranel and Dalsted’s use of stories, discussion, examples, key-pad polling and other educational tools to help farm and ranch families begin documenting their legacies.
“This program truly helps farm and ranch families get things in order before they consult with an attorney,” Dr. Dalsted said. “There are many tools available for estate planning. However, if a family does not know what it wants to have happen to its personal assets and farm, the tools may not be the right ones.”
Tranel and Dalsted will present this program Wednesday in Steamboat Springs. People interested in participating in the workshops should contact the CSU Routt County Extension office at 970-879-0825. A minimal cost of $25 for the first family member and $10 for each additional family member includes lunch and materials, including the Lasting Legacy workbook.
Passing on one’s life work is important and critical to the success of the farm and ranch business. People should really discuss their wishes with family members, develop and document good succession and estate plans, and then consult with their attorney and accountant.
The issue is so important that the USDA Risk Management Agency is funding CSU’s efforts to help Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.
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