Finding the Right Estate Planner
When planning for the future of your property, there’s a lot you have to decide and do for yourself. But there’s also a lot—particularly in our complex tax and legal system—that will require a professional’s help. That’s where an estate planner comes in.
The right estate planner will understand your desire to create and preserve a legacy, and will have the experience and expertise to make it happen.
How do I find the right estate planner?
Start by asking people you already trust. Talk to a forester, financial planner, or other professional whose advice you value, or ask your friends, family or neighbors. Your local or state small woodlands association or Cooperative Extension office are other good sources.
Once you have a list of names, call them up for an informal interview. Feel free to ask questions—you want to make sure an estate planner’s interests and skills fit your needs before you commit to working together.
You’re looking for someone who
- Has significant experience, particularly with land assets and families
- Specializes in estate planning and succession, and has an up-to-date knowledge of the field and relevant laws
- Comes from a family farm, landowning or forestry background (this is not necessary but is often beneficial)
- Connects with you – someone who is easy to work with and will keep your needs and goals in mind
- Can provide you with references when you request them
Once you’ve chosen your estate planner, he or she will use a variety of legal tools—which can include trusts, easements, and other kinds of agreements—to turn your vision for the future into reality. You will still be in charge of the process, however, so you may want to learn a little estate planning 101.
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