b'might not be the one who takes over, they still have stake in what happens once the matriarch or patriarch passes the torch. DO YOU NEED TO DIFFERENTIATE Communication means we can help the family come toPERSONAL AND FARM DOCUMENTS?grips with the elements of transition, so everyone has the rightWhether its a unanimous shareholders agreement, information they need to ensure theres no misunderstandings,a partnership agreement, personal will or a power VanParys adds. Then we can make sure the business is preparedof attorney (POA) for medical and personal for a transition and it can remain viable and meet everyones property, there is considerable value in having a albeit not all the sameneeds. clear understanding of everyones expectations. What does this mean? Its time to schedule a real conversationThe easiest way to do this is with separate with the whole family.documentation.According to VanParys, these discussions should look like a funnel with the biggest overarching goals at the start, and moreYou should have a power of attorney for your detail added in each step: property, and you should have one for your 1.What is the family and farm trying to achieve in broad terms?medical procedures, says John Stewart, attorney What are the family values? What is the overall goal for theat Winnipeg, Man.-based Darcy and Deacon. In farm legacy? Is preserving family ownership important? Canada, we have a living will that deals mostly with 2. What are the challenges to achieving the familys high-levelmedical issues in the event that youre unable to goals? What needs to be addressed in the transition plan tomake those decisions for yourself, then we have a ensure the legacy of the farm moves in the right direction? general power of attorney which is covering your 3. Who is going to champion finding solutions to theproperty and everything else that youre doing on a challenges? How can this person or persons help provideday-to-day basis. clarity and understanding for all stakeholders?Start having hard discussionswho wants to be involved onA corporate will is not a document that is enshrined the farm? If someone isnt involved, what is a fair alternative thatin the law. Usually, corporate intentions are set out in provides the next generation of farmers what they need withouta unanimous shareholders agreement that sets out forgetting the other heirs? What are the goals for the farm? Oncethe rights and obligations of each of the shareholders these issues are identified and solutions discovered, then theyin the company and the rules under which the family can put the plan into action. company is going to be operated, he says.Note finding whats fair in a transition is difficult and will likely mark the biggest challenge to creating a succession plan.Working through the many different legal documents Fair isnt the same for each family member but its something thatis complex, but necessary in the event of a disaster needs to be agreed upon. or accident. This protects growers personally and the farm operation at large so all parties are Start Including the Next Generation Earlier appropriately represented.It can be one of the most difficult parts of transitioning anI also recommend there should be conversations operation for the primary owner, but its critical to start involvingabout whats in wills and powers of attorney the next generation in stages. When theyre young, teach themdocuments, adds Brent VanParys, family enterprise day-to-day activities and as they grow older start involving themadvisor and consultant at BDO Canada LLP. These in decision making and business operations. should be available to the people who are impacted Between the ages of probably 12 and 30 most operators areby them, and they should understand the rationale working with the next generating by having them learn how tobehind the various decisions.do seeding, operate equipment, apply fungicide, etc. Stewart says. In the middle of your 20s its probably a good idea to haveTransparency before the inevitable happens can save this next generation learn through a college or university tosurviving family members heartache and ensure acquire management tools theyll need going forward. the wishes of the previous operators are carried out Then, when they are in their early 30s, (the most importantproperly.part of the succession plan) have that next generation start to truly manage the operation. Have them get involved in all things, capital planning, budgeting, working with bankers, working with insurance agents. Have them start to understand marketing,Brent Bydevaate is Running the Family Farm financial management and what it takes to be successful, he adds. spudsmart.com/brent-bydevaate-is-running-the-family-farm/Ultimately, succession planning comes down to doing everything possible to ensure the next generation has whatWorking on the Next Generation they need to be successful. From legal documents conferringspudsmart.com/working-on-the-next-generation/ownership of land and equipment, to the knowledge baseManitoba Farm Family Welcome Fifth Generation Homeneeded to operate season after season. spudsmart.com/manitoba-farm-family-welcome-fifth-generation-home/Start planning early to ensure asuccessful transition. 34SPUDSMART.COM Spring 2022'