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How this helps you:
If you generate income and expenses from your woodland, this will help you with income tax reporting. It also will alert you to property tax programs for managed forest land, help you predict financial returns from forestry investments, and get started with estate planning.
Step 1: Read about Estate Planning
Read the section on Estate Planning ( PDF; pages 193 – 195)
Step 2: Discussion your goals
Discuss your goals for the woodland you own with family members and others that have a stake in it. Listen to their concerns and expectations.
Step 3: Get an appraisal
Get an accurate appraisal of the value of your woodland and other assets.
Step 4: Determine the impact of taxes
Determine the impact of state and federal estate taxes on the disposition of your estate. You may need to work with an estate planner.
Step 5: Prepare a Will
Prepare a Will to insure that taxes and creditors are paid and assets are transferred to heirs as you wish.
Step 6: Designate beneficiaries
Designate beneficiaries on financial accounts to keep them out of probate.
Step 7: Determine if a trust is appropriate for you
Talk to an estate planning attorney about whether a trust is appropriate for you.
Step 8: Think about continuing your forestry business
If you want your forestry business to continue after your death, talk to an attorney about what type of business ownership is most appropriate. Options include, but may not be limited to: sole proprietorship, joint tenancy, tenancy-in-common, family limited partnership, limited liability company, S corporation, and C corporation.
Step 9: Consider your legacy
Consider whether a conservation easement or land donation may help fulfill your legacy. A conservation easement or land donation may result in an income tax or estate tax deduction if the land is properly valued and the receiving organization is a government body or 501(c)(3) organization. Search the Internet for public agencies and nonprofit land trusts that offer conservation easements or that accept land donations.