Assessment: Is Your Plan Complete?

Satisfaction: the feeling you get when overcoming a challenge, completing a difficult task, or learning a new skill. Succession planning has been likened to all of these and more. It is challenging, difficult and for most, new. But if you’ve done it, made the decisions, put ink to paper, and shared your results with interested family members, you can check it off your to-do list---right?

Not necessarily. Not all plans are created equal. Not all plans address your goals and ensure financial security, a smooth ownership transition, adequate leadership development, or mitigation of the estate tax.

If you think you’ve got it all done, but want to be sure, the following set of questions will help you think it through. Make sure your plan addresses your goals and creates the legacy you want to leave. Respond Yes, No, or N/A to each item – and make note of any details and special considerations.


Note: Once you have initiated your 'Is Your Plan Complete?' notes, you may save and/or print your notes. Your responses will be archived in MyConnect (upper right of any webpage, within tools tab), to access for continued note-taking and to print.


Respond to each statement:

You will not be able to save your answers until you login as a member.

Our farm will remain in the family for the advantage and enjoyment of future generations.
The ownership transition will be gradual for the benefit of all concerned---owners, families, employees, and customers.
Our farm will continue to provide financial security and career opportunities.
The senior generation can opt to retire without unnecessarily burdening the income distributions and capital reserves of the operation.
The farming operation is supported with operating agreements, job descriptions, employee manuals and a family employment policy.
We know and have communicated the who, what, when, where, and how of all the family’s succession planning arrangements.
We’ve adopted a business plan, organization chart, and communication policy that will help the management team efficiently run the operation.
Our succession plan is based on clearly defined goals that address keeping the operation together, financial security for involved family, and well-prepared next generation leaders.
We use a family council and/or board of directors to effectively separate family matters from business issues.
We are confident the federal and/or state imposed estate tax will not unduly burden obligate our heirs or force a sale.
We are making off-farm investments to ensure financial security and maintain financial security for the senior generation.
Each management team member is engaged in a program for professional development to improve skills and enhance capabilities.
Our entire plan has been reviewed and validated by accounting, legal, financial, consulting, etc. professionals.
The farm will be protected from the devastations of divorce, death, disability, and dissolution.
The family and the management team weigh decisions based on the goals of succession first and the tax, legal, financial demands of the business second.
My family, professional advisors, alliance partners, landlords, and loyal employees know and understand our plans for succession.
Our plan ensures long-term financial security and provides a means for surviving family and special needs in case of death or disability.
Employment in the operation is based on job openings and written family employments. Each job is supported by a job description and fair market wage
All of our tenant/landlord relationships are supported by written lease agreements and when possible buy/sell agreements.
The operation pays rent/lease payments to a landlord or landholding entity.