New Handbook: So You Inherited a Farm

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[Editor’s note: please forgive the crossover into first person narrative, but it best illustrates the purpose and intent of this new collection of draft articles and templates]

Throughout the winter and summer of 2021, I worked on writing and compiling a collection of articles and templates concerning land inheritance into a 160-page workbook, titled So You Inherited a Farm. This initial printing is meant to support the Land Summit workshop formats around North Carolina (when we could again convene in person in 2022). The workbook development and its printing was supported by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

So You Inherited a Farm is a collection of draft narratives and templates targeted to helping farm and forest landowners resolve any title issues among heirs that may impede production, and includes information on estate planning, option and entity agreements, leases, as well as property tax and liability content. The intent is to help heirs in co-tenancy resolve any issues that might impede a parcel’s use in supporting farm and forestry production or passive ecosystem service, or that might strain family ties. The purpose of the templates is to provide “go-by” language to legal counsel for farm and forest landowners seeking title resolution; they are not intended as “fill-in” templates (hopefully, the watermarks ensure this).

Despite the title, the booklet is for anyone with an ownership interest in land, a farm operating or landowning business entity, a beneficiary of a trust with farm assets, or anyone purchasing and developing a new farm. The narratives in the booklet are in varying stages of academic review, the majority intended to become N.C. Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets. Future work includes reducing content to short videos, written summaries and even infographics.

For now, the printed workbook is being distributed to interested parties at in-person workshops where I am presenting this 2022 winter and spring. A pdf of the publication can be downloaded here.

Happy new year!

Robert Andrew Branan, JD, Assistant Extension Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics