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Farm Transfer and Estate Planning Attorneys

By Megan Roberts, Extension Educator


If you have not already identified an attorney to help you through the legal aspects of the farm transfer and estate process, you may be wondering how to find a qualified attorney. One possibility is to utilize online search tools from professional associations. Attorneys self-select into these organizations for specialized professional development. The following suggestions are not intended as advertising for any attorney or organization nor meant to be a referral or recommendation of any attorney.

One national professional organization associated with estate planning and elder law is the Wealth Counsel. To find members of the Wealth Council visit: www.estateplanning.com. Once on the site, go to the upper right of the page and click “Find a Planning Professional.” On the next page, you can enter the zip code of your mailing address and select the radius of the search up to 100 miles of your location. You may also search for attorneys by individual Minnesotan cities.

Another professional association that enables online searching is the Minnesota Bar Association, www.mnbar.org. To search members of the Minnesota Bar Association visit: www.mnbar.org/member-directory/find-a-lawyer. Once on the search page, you can select to search by practice area(s). Attorney members self-identify their practice areas. Possible practice-area search terms relevant to farm transfer include “agriculture,” “elder law,” “estate planning-trusts, wills” and “estate/probate.”

Not all Minnesotan attorneys that practice in the area of agricultural, estate planning, or elder law have self-selected into the professional organizations listed above. There are many skilled legal professionals and law firms that do not appear on the searchable lists referenced. To find additional attorneys in your area, you may wish to ask for attorney recommendations from trusted agribusiness professionals you work with or other local farmers that have recently gone through the farm transition process. Once you have created a short list of possible attorneys, you may desire to “interview” a few choices to determine if the attorney that best meets your and your farms’ needs. Preparing a written list of questions and concerns before your first meeting can help you get the most out of your interaction. Often initial consultation appointments do not have a fee, but do not assume this to be the case. Ask questions (for example about fee structures and attorney backgrounds) when setting up your appointment(s) to avoid surprises later.

In winter 2019, University of Minnesota Extension, in partnership with the Minnesota State College and University System, will hold a series of day-long workshops and multi-day retreats on farm transition and estate planning. Registration for workshops and retreats are now open. More information is available at z.umn.edu/farmtransition 

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