Aquaculture North America

Farm Credit Canada launches new estate planning tool for Canadian farmers

December 12, 2023
By Aquaculture North America staff

Farm Credit Canada has announced the release of a new Will and Estate Pre-Planning Tool for Canadian farms. (Photo: FCC)

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has announced the release of a new Will and Estate Pre-Planning Tool for Canadian farms to help producers including fish farmers think about how to plan for the future of their operations successfully.

The Farm Transition – Will and Estate Pre-Planning Tool for Canadian farms is based on speaker and author, Tom Deans’ Willing Wisdom Index platform and has been adapted to reflect the needs of Canadian farm owners. Producers will get personalized recommendations and checklist minutes after answering a series of questions. The checklist will identify what is being done well and any existing gaps in estate planning.

“The tool is meant to give urgency to a conversation that families often find difficult to start,” said Deans. “There’s no other industry where a business owner forges such a close emotional connection to the business. You live on the very thing you are working. It’s more than a business, it’s an identity and to transition it to someone else is excruciating and a deeply emotional subject.”

The will and estate tool can be used to start a conversation between family members on how to use resources like lawyers, accountants and wealth advisors in their plans.

“Many people in the agriculture industry tell us that will and estate planning is an overwhelming task and so it’s common for producers to avoid it. This tool complements the FCC’s Advisory Services which are already helping Canadian farmers begin these conversations,” said Greg Thomarat, FCC manager, advisory services. “By using the tool, producers will gain greater insight into this important step in their transition journey, as well as come away with a list of questions to bring to their advisors in advance of those plans.”

“Once families get rolling on it, they are remarkably resilient at moving through the planning process,” said Deans. “Often the second generation is waiting for their parents to say ‘hey we need to talk about where the farm is going’, but the kids don’t know how to start the conversation and the parents are afraid of the conversation and then if someone dies, it’s a mess.”

Deans encourages people to point to the report as a reason to start talking about will and estate planning and avoid the erosion of family relationships and wealth.

“A farmer will take 8 to 10 minutes, go through the checklist, hit enter, get the report and see what they have to do. The recommendations will be clear and a common one will be to sit down and talk to the family,” said Deans.

The will and estate pre-planning tool is free, anonymous and confidential. The personalized checklist and recommendations producers receive include actions that can be taken immediately. They can then go back to the tool multiple times to see their score improve and the checklist changes based on what they have accomplished.

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