Things to Think About When Planning

The MyLandPlan Tool can help you craft a plan that’s right for your family and for your peace of mind.

As a landowner, you may worry about what will happen to your property when you are no longer willing or able to care for it.

You have numerous options: sell the property now or arrange to have it sold upon your death; give all or part of it away to charity; or pass it on to your children, grandchildren or other members of your family.  How do you decide which path to take? 

The first question you must ask yourself is, "Is my property an asset or an heirloom?"

On a scale of one to 10 (with one being “just a financial investment” and 10 being “a priceless heirloom that should remain in our family”), how do you see your property? How badly do you want your family to continue to own it, and why?

If it is not important for you to keep your woodland in the family, you must ask yourself whether you want to sell it or give it away to charity. Both options have important financial/tax benefits and drawbacks. Ask your estate planner or tax advisor about them.

If you want to keep the land in your family, a whole new set of questions comes up.

  • Does my family share my love of the property and my desire to keep it?
  • Do I wish to divide my property among family members, give it to only one family member, or give it to the family as a whole to jointly own?
  • Have certain family members contributed more of their time and energy (“sweat equity”) to maintaining the property?
  • Are in-laws or stepchildren part of the family?
  • Who in the family will make decisions about the property?
  • How will my family manage and pay for my land? Will they be able to cover taxes and other costs upon my death? Do I know what those costs are?

These questions aren’t easy, but the answers will help you craft a plan that’s right for your family and for your peace of mind. And you need not answer them alone—your family can help.

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