SAN ANTONIO, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyatt Regency Hotel -- WealthCounsel announced during opening remarks at its eleventh annual estate planning conference that the company is forming a pilot program to address the estate planning needs of aging farmers. The pilot program, which will engage the efforts of WealthCounsel's network of member attorneys located in the nation's key farm-producing states, will be discussed at an informal meeting at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio on Friday, June 13, 2008, at 7:00 a.m. In addition to WealthCounsel attorneys, the news media and qualified interested parties are invited to attend. According to a report published by the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the succession planning decisions of farmers are of considerable importance to the farming community and to our nation's food supply. The successful management and intergenerational transfer of farming operations is high on the priority list for many political leaders, as indicated by the recent enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill. "Research indicates that over one-fourth of all farmers and half of all agricultural landlords are age 65 or older," said Stan Miller, a WealthCounsel principal. "Because the data we are seeing suggests that only a fraction of the nation's farmers have a succession or estate plan in place, we believe the time to address these issues is now," Miller added. Miller indicated that WealthCounsel is in a unique position to help coordinate existing efforts underway by public and private groups in various farming communities that are dedicated to sounding the alarm regarding the need for farmers to work with an estate planning attorney to properly manage assets and the intergenerational transfer of those assets. He pointed out that in just four of the USDA's top 10 farming states, (California, Texas, Illinois, and Florida), that there are nearly 350 estate planning attorneys who hold membership in WealthCounsel. "Working with an attorney who understands agriculture and who specializes in business succession, estate planning, and elder law is critical, rather than an attorney who is a generalist," said Brenda Vassaur Taylor, a WealthCounsel attorney from Fayetteville, Arkansas whose law practice focuses on farm planning. "Farm business succession and the associated aspects of estate planning are very complicated and change frequently, so it is crucial to have up-to-date information on tax laws and agricultural incentives," Taylor added. Taylor noted that one of the more alarming statistics she had encountered came from a survey conducted in 2000 by Iowa State University which found that more than 50 percent of Iowa farmers had no estate plan and 71 percent had not named a successor. For more information about the June 13, 2008 meeting at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio, contact Marlene Frith of WealthCounsel at 888-659-4069, ext. 817. About WealthCounsel(R) WealthCounsel(R) is a registered trademark of WealthCounsel, LLC, a membership-based organization of more than 1,000 firms throughout all 50 states. The company is known for its Five-Star Practice Solution(TM), which includes a unique blend of its WealthDocs(TM) document drafting software, a collaborative community of attorney practitioners, listserv discussion forums, relevant CLE, and practice building resources. WealthCounsel shares ownership in ElderCounsel, LLC, and the Advisors Forum, LLC. For more information, visit http://www.wealthcounsel.com.
SOURCE WealthCounsel, LLC