Succession Planning or Family Feud. You decide.

You're not going to live forever.

This may seem obvious, but when you look at the behavior of many farmers and business owners, you would think that they've found the Fountain of Youth. For people who've worked hard their whole lives building something, it seems hard to imagine that someday they won't be able to run it all themselves.

Death, like taxes, may be unavoidable, but we forget that what comes first is old age. At some point in life, long before you pass on, you will find yourself unable to manage your affairs in the same ways as you have always expected.

If you want to see your farm run well for years into the future, or if you want to be able to retire in peace from the day to day, you need a plan, and people, in place to carry on with the job. And the time to do that is now, while you're in charge, active, and aware of all the needs of your farm.

One of the sad things we see as lawyers is the children fighting over the remains of a business built by their parents, while the remaining parent is parked in a nursing home, never seeing their family all together because one child refuses to be in the same place as another.

Talking to your family, and making a plan that everyone knows of, can mean the difference between a Thanksgiving dinner with all your grandchildren someday, or a lonely meal with the one half of the family who still get along.