Estate Planning In North Dakota


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Extension Web Resources

The following list of web resources was distributed in April 2011. The resources provide a wealth of information and explanation of numerous topics relating estate and transition planning.



2011 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference
Pre-Conference Seminar - April 11th

St. Louis, MO



I.     Succession Planning and Beginning Farmer Resources from around the Country

II.    Land-linking Programs

III.   Beginning Farmers

IV.   Funding and Other Resources



I. Succession Planning and Beginning Farmer Resources

1. Estate Planning Publications (Montana State University)

In today's complicated society, all families, regardless of their resources and ages, can benefit from overall financial planning--one aspect of which is estate planning. The estate planning publications at were created at Montana State University by Extension Family Economics Specialist Marsha A. Goetting, Ph.D., CFp@, CFCS. The MontGuides have been reviewed by professionals from the appropriate organizations: Business, Estates, Trusts, Tax, and Real Property Law Section (State Bar of Montana); Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants, Office of Consumer Protection, and University of Montana School of Law.


2. Dying without a Will in Montana (Montana State University)

Who receives your property if you pass away without a written will? Use this Web site to discover how your property will be distributed under Montana law if you are a Montana resident and if you pass away without a written will (as do 7 out of 10 Americans).


3. Farm Succession Planning (Washington State University) Succession/Farm_Succession.htm

Web site lists the Farm Succession Planning resources compiled by the Washington State University Spokane County Extension Agriculture and Natural resources department. It includes PDFs, PowerPoint's, and Excel Sheets.


4. Farm Business Succession Resources (University of Wisconsin)

This web site is intended to help Extension agents understand the complex issues of farm business succession and direct them to resources and facilitation tools they can use when working with their clientele. The resources are organized into six basic categories: Planning for Farm Transfer, Inventory of Assets, Financial Analysis, Business Arrangements, Tax Planning, and Estate and Retirement Planning. A member of the UW-Extension F.A.R.M. team has reviewed each resource and access information has been provided. Team members will continue to update the resources as they become available.


5. Delayed Payment of Federal Estate Taxes (University of Missouri)

This guide will explain conditions under which you can delay payment of estate taxes. This guide is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Consult your attorney or accountant for assistance with specific estate tax questions.


6. Farm Partnerships: Part II -Legal Considerations (University of Missouri)

One of the established principles concerning partnerships is that both real and personal property may be owned in the partnership name. In Missouri, property owned by the partnership is held by "tenancy in partnership." Under such arrangements, each partner is a co-owner of specific partnership property and has equal rights to possess and use the property for partnership purposes, but no right to possess or use it for other purposes without the consent of her or his partners.


7. A Family Legacy: Succession Planning for Ranch and Farm Owners (Oregon State University)

Videos. A Facilitated Workshop and Tutorial consisting of 7 parts including an Introduction, The Planning Process (Part 1), The Importance of Planning (Part 2), Valuing the Legacy (Part 3), Building Your Team of Experts (Part 4), Family Communication (Part 5), Tools of the Trade (Part 6), and Implementation, Maintenance, and the Review (Part 7).


8. Ties to the Land: Succession Planning for Ranching Families (Oregon State University)

OSU's Extension Service, OSU's Austin Family Business Program, and OCA's Private Lands Committee with major funding from RMA (USDA-Risk Management Agency) presented a series of workshops in January 2008 entitled "Ties to the Land: Succession Planning for Ranching Families. The workshop materials including all the factsheets and presentations are available at the above website.


9. Farm Transition Planning (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University)

A series of publications entitled "Managing Prosperity: Estate and Retirement Planning for All Ages."  Includes topics such as advance medical directives, an introduction to trusts, building your financial team,and more.

10.  Estate Planning - Planning for Tomorrow (Iowa State University)

This publication is not intended to serve as a complete text for estate planning. The subject is so broad and complex that all details could not be included. The reader should observe that statements made in the publication apply to general situations; solutions to specific problems often depend upon the facts of each case. The author has attempted to indicate this throughout the text. This publication is not intended to substitute for legal counsel.

11.  Transferring Ownership of Farm Machinery (Iowa State University)

Farm machinery is an important component of transferring ownership from the older party to the younger party. The use and ownership of farm machinery can be transferred from the older party (seller or giver) to the younger party (buyer or recipient) immediately or over several years. Each method of transfer has different financial and income tax consequences.

12.  Beginning Farm Center (Iowa State University)

The Iowa Legislature created the Beginning Farmer Center in 1994. The Center is a part of Iowa State University Extension. The idea for a Beginning Farmer Center developed from a series of discussions with Legislators, Extension personnel, and others concerning what could be done to encourage new farmers. These discussions led to the conclusion that it was necessary to have a center to focus exclusively on the needs and issues facing beginning farmers. It was also determined that this Center should facilitate the matching of beginning farmers with existing farmers who wanted to transition their farm businesses to the next generation. The Beginning Farmer Center conducts programs for farmers who want to transition their farm business to the next generation or people who want to get into farming.

13.  Income Tax Aspects of Property Transfers (Iowa State University) /c4-20.pdf

Property can be transferred by sale or gift during life, or by inheritance at death. The income tax consequences of each type of transfer are examined in this article.

14.  The Basics of Estate Planning (University of Georgia)

This publication introduces tools and techniques that may be used in planning your estate. It gives an overview of what you need to know to work with your estate planning professionals to design your estate plan.

15.  Federal Estate Taxation (Curriculum Guide) 7-6oh.pdf

Goals and objectives: (1) learn what property is valued, how property is valued, and when property is valued for federal estate tax purposes; (2) learn about special use valuation; and (3) learn about deductions from the gross estate and the unified credit.

16.  Federal Estate Taxation (Texas A&M University)

The federal estate tax is an excise tax levied on the privilege of transferring property at death. This publication discusses the important issues relevant to understanding estate taxes such as: when and how property is valued for federal estate tax purposes; and what property is included in the decedent's gross estate.

17.  Business Entity Planning (Texas A&M University)

There are a number of ways farm and ranch businesses can be structured, including partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, and others. This publication explains how the structure of a business affects estate planning, management, taxes and other issues.


18.  Take Charge of Family Farm Finances (University of New Hampshire)

Farm families risk losing their farms when estate and farm succession planning is nonexistent or stalled. Everyone has a plan, whether "default" or "intentional". The state law designs the default plan where the farm family lives and the property is located. The intentional plan is one designed by farm families to carry out their wishes. This website has many resources to help farm families start planning their "intentional" plan.

19.  Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate? (University of Minnesota)

Everyone has personal belongings such as wedding photographs, a baseball glove or a yellow pie plate that contain meaning for them and for other family members. Planning to pass on such items can be challenging, and may lead to family conflict. This web site provides people with practical information about the inheritance of personal property. Our goal is improving family decision making through education and research.


20.  Estate Planning Series of Fact Sheets and Publications (University of Minnesota)

Series include topics: Estate Planning Principles, Establishing a Will, Distribution of Estate Assets, Gifting Assets, TRUSTS: Definitions, Types, and Taxation, Revocable Living Trust, Income Tax Issues for Estate Planning, Life Insurance in Estate Planning, Disposing of Personal and Household Items, and Steps in Estate Settlement


21.  Transferring the Farm Series of Fact Sheets and Publications (University of Minnesota)

Series include topics: Preparing to Transfer the Farm Business, Farm Business Transfer Strategies, Utilizing Partnerships & Corporations to Transfer Farm Assets, Transferring Livestock & Machinery, Should You Sell Your Real Estate?, Gifting Farm Assets, Tax Considerations When Transferring Assets, Treatment of Heirs in the Transfer Process, Developing a Written Transition Plan Outline, and Financial Help for Beginning Minnesota Farmers.


22.  A Lasting Legacy Course 1 and 2 (University of Wyoming and Colorado State University)

Part 1: A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering 1) Intergeneratational Relationships-

Parent/Adult Child Relationships and Managing Intergenerational relationships, 2) Legacy Components- Values and Life Lessons and Personal Possessions of Emotional value in two modules and four lessons. Also included are a glossary, resource links for further research, and many other features.

Part 2: A two-hour CD and internet-based course covering 1) Final Wishes and Instructions- End-of-Life Issues, Pre-Death Wishes, and Final Instructions, 2) Financial Assets and Real Estate- Estate Planning, Financial Planning, and Transferring Real Property across two modules and six lessons. Also included are a glossary, resource links for further research, and many other features.


23.   Tennessee Farmland Legacy (University of Tennessee)

The objective of this website is to provide readers a solid foundation upon which they, and all of the people involved, can understand basic farm succession planning concepts and processes. Of equal importance, the Farmland Legacy workbook seeks to prepare all of the individuals to effectively search for and use the appropriate professional services required for the development of a high-quality farm succession plan.


24.  Northeast Beginning Farmers Project (Cornell University)

The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is led by a team of educators who care deeply about supporting the success of new farmers. It is housed at the Cornell Small Farms Program and funded by the USDA's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, project #2009-49400-05878. This website is one of our projects. We also offer online courses taught by experienced Extension educators and using content from this website, and we develop new informational resources for new farmers (like the Guide to Farming in NY and our new series of farming videos). When we initiated this beginning farmer work in 2006, we focused exclusively in NY, but now we are building connections among the many excellent organizations serving beginning farmers across the Northeast region, many of whom you'll find in our map.


25.  NY FarmNet (Cornell University)

New York FarmNet was established in 1986 to provide farm families with a network of information, contacts and services that are uniquely suited to the financial and personal challenges of agricultural business management. This network covers every aspect of high-pressure decision making from partnerships and transfers to stress management, family communication, domestic concerns, and disaster response. FarmNet is a working resource to help build positive solutions for future success. Key program support is provided by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and NY Farm Viability Institute.

26.  Farm Family Succession in Vermont (University of Vermont)

Successful family farm succession or farm transfer is critical to the future of agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. Here you will find articles, events, research results and other relevant resources that may help you better understand and/or navigate the farm succession process.


27.  Trusts: Uses and Considerations (Oklahoma State University)

This fact sheet is designed to provide a basic understanding of some of the fundamental concepts involved in the use of trusts in estate and tax planning.

28.  Estate Planning Considerations for Ohio Families (Ohio State University)

The purpose of this website is to acquaint our Ohio readers with the issues associated with estate creation and transfer. It can provide the basis for understanding estate planning terms and assist in outlining personal objectives. This knowledge will be of assistance when selecting and working with estate planning counselors.

29.  Strategic Management, Module 9: Succession Planning (Purdue University)

A well-thought out succession plan is essential to the continuation of a business, no matter what its size and structure. This presentation presents key things to consider as a plan is built.

30.  Who Will Get Grandpa's Farm? (Purdue University)

As farm operators age, the question of farm transfer surfaces. Farm operators know they need to discuss the transfer with family members, but some families find it difficult to communicate because there are several issues that must be considered. This program presents three strategies for having a discussion about farm transfer.

31.  Planning for a Secure Retirement (Purdue University)

The objective of this course is to help you with your planning for retirement. Each module provides information that can be valuable in answering the questions you need to consider as you make your plans. The modules include specific goals for the module, activities to complete, and sources for more information.


32.  Retirement Estimator for Farm Families (Purdue University)

Whether you are thinking of retiring gradually or about taking the big step all at once, you may wonder whether you can afford to retire. This site is designed to help you answer some of your questions about retirement.


33.  Farm Transfer Planning (Farm Transfer Network of New England)

Would you like to start-or complete-a transfer plan for your farm? Would you like information about farm transfer and succession? Would you like advice and assistance to transfer your farm?

This website is a great place to start! The Farm Transfer Network of New England is a network of professionals and organizations offering you special expertise in farm transfer and succession.


34.  Estate Planning and Taxation (The National Agricultural Law Center)

This website provides a comprehensive compilations of electronic resources and overview articles for estate planning and taxation.

35.  AG Transitions

AgTransitions helps farmers & ranchers develop a plan to transition their business to the next generation. On this website you can: Develop your own transition plan, learn what you need to include in your plan with Tips & Resources, Stimulate multi-generational discussions, Share your plan with family members and your transition team, Interact with Reviewers - your business advisors, educators, or consultants - for feedback and assistance

36.  Farm Journal Legacy Project

The Farm Journal legacy Project is a concerted effort to address the succession planning needs of America's farm families. Utilizing all Farm Journal Media properties, the legacy Project provides comprehensive succession planning information. Its mission: to cultivate multigenerational success in the agricultural community.

37.  FarmLASTSProject

The FarmLASTS (Farmland Access, Succession, Tenure and Stewardship) project was implemented by a national, multi-disciplinary team led by project directors Robert Parsons (University of Vermont) and Kathryn Ruhf (land For Good). Three working groups--research, education, and outreach--were organized, and consulting experts from around the U.S. also participated in project activities. In addition, the project utilized the expertise from farmer and professional advisory committees. While each working group had its own activities, the project's integrated approach assured that findings flowed across teams and out to farmers, ranchers, service providers, and policymakers.


38. Estate and Gift Taxes,,id=98968,00.html

IRS resources on Estate and Gift Taxes



II. Land-linking Programs

1. International Farm Transition Network

The National Farm Transition Network (NFTN) is a network for land linking programs across the globe. NFTN holds annual conferences with the goal of sharing information, strengthening existing programs and helping to establish new programs. It maintains a web site and list serve.


2. Land Link Services (Center for Rural Affairs)

The Center's Land Link program serves to increase opportunities for beginning farmers while encouraging good stewardship. Computer database matching and consulting services bring beginning farmers and landowners together. Retirement planning, beginning farmer financing, farm business, and environmental assessment information is used to assist in transferring family operations to a new generation of farmers and ranchers. Land link success stories and case studies are included on web site.


3. New England Landlink

NELL is a program to help farmers and landholders locate and transfer farms in New England. Finding and transferring farms are among the biggest challenges that New England farmers face. Since 1994, NELL has helped hundreds of entering and relocating farmers find farms. Through NELL, farm owners and managers have found farmers for their valued farm properties. Farm transfer means passing a farm, farmland and/or farm business from one party to another. Transfer options include sale, lease, work-in and other tenure relationships.


4. Maine Farmlink

FarmLink is a farm transfer program that connects farmers seeking farmland with retiring Maine farmers and other farmland owners who wish to see their land farmed. People seeking farmland "Seekers" are linked to "Farmland Owners" looking to sell or lease their farms, based on their respective interests, needs, and goals. To date, FarmLink has made over 56 links, making it one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation.


5. Pennsylvania Farm Link

Pennsylvania Farm Link is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of "creating farming opportunities for the next generation."


6. New Jersey Farm Link

The Farm Link Program serves as a resource and referral center for new farmers, farmers seeking access to land and farming opportunities, landowners seeking farmers, and farmers working on estate and farm transfer plans.


7. Connecticut FarmLink Program

Do you and your family have a plan for the farmland you own? Are you a young farmer who is looking for land? According to state statute, The Connecticut FarmLink Program and website is designed to be a clearinghouse for the transition between generations of farmers with the goal of keeping farmland in production. Farmland is irreplaceable. There is a new generation of young farmers who want to be tomorrow's Stewards of the Land. But they do not have land to work.


8. New York FarmLink

Transferring management responsibility and farm assets to the next generation or a non-family member is an important, but sometimes confusing process. In addition, existing farmers face a limited amount of choices for retirement and new farmers face a tremendous uphill battle in order to obtain the necessary knowledge, skill, and finances. NY FarmLink provides educational resources, consulting, and opportunities that enable more farms to be transferred and joint ventures to be developed for the economic enhancement of New York State agriculture.


9. Ontario FarmLiNK

FarmLlNK's MatchMaker tool brings together new farmers who are looking for land or mentorship with farm owners who have land available or expertise to share. If you are a NEW FARMER, ESTABLISHED FARMER, OR FARMLAND OWNER, you have an important part to play in the future of agriculture in Ontario, and FarmLiNK Ontario can help you.


10.  Land Link Montana

Land Link Montana's matching service connects beginning and relocating farmers and ranchers with landowners who want to see their land in production. If you are a retiring producer or landowner, we can help you find the right farmer or rancher to lease or purchase your land. Or, if you are looking for land to farm or ranch, we can help you find the land that will help you achieve your agricultural goals.


11.  Virginia Farm Link Program

The Virginia Farm Link database is an online database designed to link farm owners interested in exiting agriculture with those seeking farms and farm businesses. The database is the primary component to date of the Virginia Farm Link program, which was established in 2001 by the General Assembly to provide assistance in the transition of farm businesses and properties from retiring farmers to active farmers.


12.  California FarmLink

California FarmLink offers a range of services to beginning farmers and landowners, including transitioning farmland and technical assistance in business planning, equity building and farm succession.



III. Beginning Farmers


1.  Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center: New and Beginning Farmers

According to USDA statistics, half of all current farmers in the U.S. are likely to retire in the next decade. Enlisting and supporting new farmers is essential to the future of family farms, the farm economy and healthy rural communities. Who will these new farmers be? From new farmer focus groups and requests for information, we know that they come from all backgrounds, are in all stages of development, and bring a wide range of talents and resources to their new enterprises. Resources in this section will help you identify programs, services, and resources for new and beginning farmers.


2.  Missouri Beginning Farmers

An increasing number of individuals and families are thinking about starting to farm part-time, or converting from farming part-time to becoming a full-time farmer. To help those who are relatively new to farming, an interdisciplinary team has assembled a wide range of information and online publications under topic headings on the left side of this page.


3. Beginning Farms - Agricultural Marketing

There are many people who have started or hope to farm. These new farmers have a passion for farming. Despite the formidable challenges, with sufficient help and support they can succeed. Their vitality contributes to local economies, and helps keep the agricultural resource base productive. This website offers a variety of resources for beginning farmers from Penn State University.


4. Northeast Beginning Farmer Project

The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is led by a team of educators who care deeply about supporting the success of new farmers. It is housed at the Cornell Small Farms Program and funded by the USDA's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, project #2009-49400-05878. This website is one of our projects. We also offer online courses taught by experienced Extension educators and using content from this website, and we develop new informational resources for new farmers (like the Guide to Farming in NYand our new series of farming videos). When we initiated this beginning farmer work in 2006, we focused exclusively in NY, but now we are building connections among the many excellent organizations serving beginning farmers across the Northeast region, many of whom you'll find in our map.


5. Nebraska Beginning Farmer Program

Nebraska's economy was founded by farmers and ranchers. provides easy access to a number of entities which offer financial resources to individuals interested in agricultural production. These resources assist those desiring to pursue agricultural opportunities as well as those desiring to maintain/improve their viability in the industry. Click on the links below to learn more about these programs.


6. Land Stewardship Project: Farm Beginnings

Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led educational training and support program designed to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants engage in a mentorship experience and network with a variety of successful, innovative farmers; attend practical, high quality seminars, field days and conferences; and receive resource materials. They also create links with experienced farmers through farm partnerships, land and equipment use and/or rental.


7. Beginning Farmers is an effort to develop a comprehensive and up to date compilation of information resources for new, experienced, and potential farmers, as well as educators, activists, and policy makers interested in the development of new farm enterprises. Through our core resource pages and frequent blog postings, we hope to provide a robust and constantly growing forum for sharing information and ideas about starting new farms, as well as other content related to sustainable agriculture and food systems.


8. Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture in the U.S. (and some in Canada) has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America.



IV. Funding and Other Resources

1. Extension Risk Management Education

Extension Risk Management Education is delivered through four regional centers that provide grant funding and leadership within their regions.

Projects are producer-focused, results-based and encourage public-private partnerships. Funded projects must identify targeted results that will help producers manage risk and then describe how the project will measure those results.

Extension Risk Management Education has funded innovative programs that have generated tangible results for producers in every state. Commitment to funding results, providing transparent accountability, and encouraging collaboration allow you to view the accomplishments of all funded projects on this website.






2. Ag Risk Education Library

The National Ag Risk Education Library is a major component of USDA's Risk Management Education (RME) program. The library organizes thousands of risk management materials which help producers and agricultural professionals quickly locate information, tools, and assistance on specific risk management topics.


3. National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Grant. The Farm Bill has made available $19 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010 to fund a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) to support the nation's beginning farmers and ranchers. The purpose of BFRDP is to develop and offer education, outreach, mentoring and internships programs by making two types of competitive grants. The recipient must be a collaborative, State, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: state cooperative extension service; community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate partner.


4. Farm Service Agency: Beginning Farmers and Rancher Loans

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (Fa) and operating loan (Ol) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers.


5. Beginner Farmer Financing Programs (Center for Rural Affairs)

At least five sources of potential funding are available including the local bank, Farm Credit Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), Aggie Bond programs, and private contracts. Center for Rural Affairs describes each and provides links.


6. Montana Beginning Farm/Ranch Loan Program


7. Iowa Beginning Farmer loan Program


8. Colorado Beginning Farmer Loan Program


9. Washington State Housing and Finance Commission: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission in partnership with Northwest Farm Credit Services is offering loans for qualifying beginning farmers/ranchers that can be combined with other loans, grants and other sources of funds. The Beginning Farmer/Rancher Bond Program is a tax-exempt bond program designed to assist beginning farmers/ranchers in the state of Washington acquire agricultural property at lower interest rates.

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