When planning for the transfer of the family forest to the next generation estate taxes used to be the primary consideration. Now that the applicable exclusion amount has been increased to $5,000,000 indexed for inflation ($5,340,000 for 2014) it does not have an impact on most landowners.
The current problem is keeping the property together as a working forest. If parents leave the land to their children in equal shares they have created an undivided ownership in the entire property without appointing a manager. If the children cannot agree on a management strategy one of the children may sue for partition. If they physically divide the property the shares become smaller to the point of being uneconomical to manage. A solution is to leave the property in a business entity or trust.
Dr. Robert Tufts, an attorney and Associate Professor in the School is presenting workshops on using business entities and trusts to hold land. He compares the type of business entities and trusts available and the benefits and disadvantages of each to help participants chose the best entity for their situation. His next workshop is in Florence on October 20th and Moulton on October 21st. If you are interested in having a workshop in your area contact Dr. Tufts or your local extension agent to organize a meeting. Dr. Tufts contact information is phone (334) 844-1011 or e-mail at email@example.com.