Farm owning families in Ohio often take a great deal of pride in the land they own and the work they do. In many cases, farmers would like to keep their land in the family and wish to pass it down to their children. While this is an understandable desire, there are situations in which family members have had protracted disagreements over how farmland should be used and managed.
One difficulty that often arises is when farm owners cut corners on estate planning and write out a “simple will” that leaves the farm to all of their children, effectively making the siblings tenants in common. Tenants in common have equal rights to the use of the land, and this often works out fine if there is a consensus about how the land should be managed. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get even two people to agree on a common purpose for just about anything.
As a result, heirs can disagree on what should be grown or raised on their farmland. In some cases, disagreements can become so intense that the heirs go to court to have the land split up into individual parcels. This is costly, and it is typically not in the spirit of what the original owner of the farm would have wanted.
Sometimes, these disagreements can spill over into major family feuds. Fortunately, there are ways of preventing these sorts of disputes from happening. Farm owners can work with an experienced estate attorney to create a will that reflects their desires for the land and how it should be maintained and used after they have died. In taking this extra step, it is possible to both pass on valuable property and help protect the relationships between those who will inherit it.