A recent article regarding a study by the University of South Australia suggests that the majority of family farms that are being passed on from one generation to the next are being left to sons rather than daughters.

According to the article, only about 10% of Australian farms are currently being bequeathed to daughters.  The preliminary results of the study have revealed that it is common for farm owners to leave farm property to male descendants, while other, non-farm assets are instead left to females.

The article also notes that, traditionally, sons would be required to carry on family farms (whether they wanted to or not), while daughters would rarely have the opportunity to continue living and working on a farm (even if they so desired).  In Australia and elsewhere, it appears that tradition still plays a strong role in how families are structuring their estate planning.

081916In other parts of the world, it has been suggested that the inattention to farm succession planning is a serious problem for farming families.  A survey conducted among farmers living in Ulster, Ireland suggests that nearly half (48%) of farmers do not have any plan regarding the inheritance of farm property.  Only 20% of survey respondents indicated that he or she had chosen a successor and executed a last will and testament to implement the related wishes.

Within the context of an aging population, it will become increasingly important that farmers take the time to obtain assistance in creating an estate plan to ensure that family farm properties are left to their intended beneficiaries.

Have a great weekend.

Nick Esterbauer