Farm and ranch estate and business planning involves countless choices and numerous wrenching decisions but none that ranks with pursuing fairness between and among the heirs.1 In almost every situation where it is planned for the farm or ranch business to continue into the next generation,2 and it is contemplated that there will be both on farm and off-farm heirs,3 the issue of fairness is paramount if one of the objectives of the parents is to assure harmony within the family after the deaths of the parents. The trend of family conflict has been clearly on the upward swing in such situations with all too many ending up in bitterness if not in litigation. The observation is heard, all too frequently, “. . . had our parents known just how much conflict within the family their decisions would generate, they would have handled it differently.”



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