Agricultural Lawyer & Family Farm Attorney
in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Planning for Farms, Both as Businesses and Legacies
Farms, and by extension farmers, are fundamentally different than other businesses and business owners. Planning for what happens to the farm after disability or death is complicated, and is made even more complicated by the increasing number of farm families that find themselves without a clear successor to return to the farm and take over, but no desire to sell the homeplace.
I once heard it said that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives. For a traditional 9-to-5 office employee who is given 14 paid vacation days a year, the majority of that employee’s time is spent outside of work, and so it is not work that will define how that employee spends his life. That employee does not go to the beach and worry about his office chair getting out in the road, or his stack of unfiled reports wilting in the summer sun. In contrast, Farmers spend their days on and around the farm, and when they’re not on the farm they are thinking about it. The average employee, and even many business owners, would not say that they spend their lives being an employee or a business owner. But without fail, even for the weekend farmers who work other jobs during the week, a farmer will tell you that he spends his life farming.
A Farm is more than just a business. It’s more than just a Home. It’s even more than a Lifestyle. The Farm is the center of life for the entire family.
Farm Estate Planning is a comprehensive process ranging from business structuring to legacy building. If you’re a farmer, you know how hard you’ve worked for what you’ve created and how easily an Act of God can take it away. Let me help you protect it, both for now and for generations to come.
Planning for Farms Is Just Different
I grew up on my family farm in South Carolina, and although I now may go weeks at a time away from home, it is never far from my thoughts. As a kid, I raised chickens and showed sheep in 4H. Now I own Angus and Wagyu cattle in Georgia and South Carolina and currently serve on the Board of the Young Cattlemen’s Committee for the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. I love the job and the business owners I meet here at Ligon Business & Estate Law, because it is always something different and can get very creative.
Farm Succession Planning is the true heart of my practice. There are many reasons that I decided to establish my own law firm and to do so in a non-traditional manner, but the strongest driving factor was my desire to help protect farms and farmers, both from current risks and future ones. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing a beautiful spread be turned into a cookie-cutter slab and vinyl subdivision. By not shackling myself to a traditional brick-and-mortar office with a single location and massive overhead, I am able to visit farmers on their farms, so that the farmer does not have to miss a day of work, all while keeping legal fees competitive. One of my first farm clients was for a mid-sized cattle producer in Georgia. We did the business planning as we bounced around in his truck looking for a missing bull and his family’s estate planning over lunch at the local BBQ. As far as I am concerned, that was a perfect day of lawyering.
Whether we are updating your entire estate plan, growing it, or editing only a few provisions of documents you already have in place, I’ll work with you to make sure everything works together.
I have helped auctioneers in Georgia and South Carolina deal with a wide range of issues, from contract and term sheet reviews to assessing the risk of a threatened lawsuit succeeding.
Owning a business is not an easy venture to accomplish. While you can be successful in your endeavors, protecting your business may prove to be more challenging without an experienced business attorney in Rock Hill SC.
After years of hard work, planning, and success, it is time to retire from your position as the owner of your company. There are a lot of decisions that will have to be made when you decide to create a business succession plan.
A comprehensive and fully integrated estate plan minimizes the burden on family and friends by proactively addressing the areas of potential confusion or conflict.
Whether we are updating your entire estate plan, growing it, or editing only a few provisions of documents you already have in place, I’ll work with you to make sure everything works together through proper family farm planning.