Dakota Farmer

Never too early to start estate planning

South Dakota State University program offers three-day conferences with access to professionals.

December 12, 2022

2 Min Read
3 generations of men
PLAN NOW: Planning your estate can ensure a smooth transition of the farm or ranch from one generation to the next, preserving the family’s legacy.fizkes/getty images

If it’s time to start planning your estate, but you’re not sure how to transfer your operation to your children, how to provide for children not part of the operation, or how to support yourself while passing on the operation, South Dakota State University Extension can help. Its Sustaining the Legacy conferences will run through April.

Whether you’ve been farming or ranching for 10 years or 60, Heather Gessner, Extension livestock business management field specialist, says it’s important for every operation to have a plan.

Setting goals and making plans can be confusing and overwhelming. And it can be time-consuming and expensive to find attorneys, insurance agents and accountants who specialize in agriculture. Sustaining the Legacy gives participants access to those professionals all at once, Gessner says, so they learn what tools are available.

The sessions can help families set goals to minimize taxes, plan for long-term care and provide equally for heirs while continuing to operate.

“We try to think, ‘This is what we want to have happen with our family at the end of the day,’ and then we start asking, ‘How?’” Gessner says.

Sustaining the Legacy has been an SDSU Extension program since 2006. This winter and spring, it will return to the multiday format, with four more sessions offered. This year’s topics include:

  • trusts

  • business structures, such as limited liability companies and corporations

  • life insurance

  • wills and probate

  • titling property

  • contracts

  • retirement planning for landowners

  • how to access retirement benefits (Medicare, Social Security)

  • goals and family meetings, and communication styles

Lunch will be provided during the conferences. Each conference has room for about 40 participants, and Gessner recommends families attend together so everyone hears the same message and can meet the professionals they may work with for years to come.

Tickets are $60 per person by the early registration date, after which tickets are $80 per person. People can register up to the day of the event provided space is available; however, early registration is encouraged.

Dates and locations

The remaining sessions follow:

Jan. 5, 12 and 19. Best Western Kelly Inn, 1607 E. Highway 50, Yankton. Early registration ends Dec. 22.

Feb. 7, 14 and  21. Red Rossa, 808 West Sioux Ave., Suite 200, Pierre. Early registration ends Jan. 24.

March 7, 14 and 21. Dakota Event Center, 720 Lamont St., Aberdeen. Early registration ends Feb. 21.

April 4, 11 and 18. Highland Convention Center, 2000 Highland Way, Mitchell. Early registration ends March 21.

For questions and additional information, contact Gessner at [email protected] or 605-782-3290.

Source: South Dakota State University Extension

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