(765) 470-7090 polly@dobbslegal.com

A Succession Plan for Every Family Farm or Family Business

What started as a challenge to take over ownership and management of her family farm became a precursor to what estate planning attorney Polly Dobbs would do for family farms and family businesses across Indiana. In an interview on the Consumer AG Connection radio show (click on the link and scroll down to Passing on the Farm Part 2), Polly, an estate planning attorney at Dobbs Legal Group, LLC, says she “ran away as fast as she could” from the historic Angus farm on which she grew up in Peru, Ind. She went off to college, became an attorney and practiced law in Indianapolis. When her father who ran the farm experienced a minor stroke, it dawned on Polly that he was the only person who knew how to manage the operation. This, plus an invitation from her dad to return to the farm, was the impetus Polly needed to put a farm succession plan in place. The youngest of five children, Polly was the only one who agreed to move back to the farm. For eight years, Polly’s husband, Steve, commuted from Indianapolis to the farm, learning the ins and outs of farming and ultimately taking over management of the operation. Polly created the succession agreement after frank, open communications with her parents and siblings. When her father became ill and experienced a long recovery period, Polly was relieved that the farm succession plan was already in place. The time to execute a succession agreement is “when everyone is breathing, and when everyone still has their marbles,” she says. Creating a wealth transfer plan for her family farm...

Passing on a Legacy of Knowledge

How can a family farm or business continue to be successful from one generation to the next? By transferring not only the assets, but also the knowledge and nuances of the operation. No one knows this better than estate planning attorney Polly Dobbs, who specializes in estate planning and wealth transfer at Dobbs Legal Group, LLC. Polly and her husband, Steve, represent the sixth generation to occupy the historic Wesleigh Farms in Peru, Ind. In an interview on the Consumer AG Connection (click on the link and scroll down to Passing on the Farm Part 1) radio show, Polly describes how her grandfather passed on the knowledge of running the farm to his son-in-law, who is Polly’s father. The youngest of five children, Polly says her older siblings moved away from the farm and established roots in other states, while she lived and worked as an attorney in Indianapolis. When her father expressed the desire to pass on the farming operation, her older siblings opted out of managing it. After a period of processing the idea, she decided to return to the farm. “We came home for a succession of knowledge so my dad could pass on his wisdom,” she says. Her dad taught his farming skills to Steve. “He’s a bright guy with a Master’s Degree in information and communications science,” she adds. Now, the large Angus farm is more than a successful operation. It also represents the repository of six generations of farming knowledge, thanks in large part to wise estate planning. And, who knows, Polly’s kids may one day become the seventh generation to run the...