The way farm property is titled will affect how it is passed on to heirs, said Wesley Tucker, agriculture and rural development specialist at University of Missouri Extension.
Many times, heirs discover property they assumed was jointly owned by parents which only lists one parent on the title.Even if the deceased has a legal will or trust, the title of an asset actually takes precedent over the will or trust and may force assets to be divided differently than intended.
"Not only is it important to have all owners listed on the title, but how ownership exists is important as well," said Tucker
"Since the title takes precedence over wills or trusts, it is important to select the correct ownership structure," said Tucker
"When planning for your estate, always try to develop a plan that will be acceptable under a worst-case scenario," said Tucker
Titles should be reviewed whenever there is a change in marital status (marriage or divorce), change in the number of children, or a death in the family.In addition, non-titled assets such as machinery, livestock and personal assets should be reviewed with the estate planning team.
"Reviewing titles of assets is one of the first steps in estate planning.A little time spent now reviewing titles to ensure they are in agreement with your goals and objectives may alleviate many problems later," said Tucker
For information on estate planning, contact your local Extension Center
or obtain Neil Harl's publication, "Estate Planning , Planning for Tomorrow," online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM993.pdf.Tucker
can also be reached by telephone at the Extension Center
in Hermitage at 745-6767.