Drama over the "family farm"- input, experience, advice appreciated.

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by TeamChaos, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    My grandparents have an 80 acre farm that they bought 30-some years ago. Only one aunt lived there as a kid, the rest were grown by the time it was purchased. I (a granddaughter), on the other hand, spent my early years living there, returned every summer and have been taking care of grandma and papa out there for the past five years in addition to farming out there. My grandparents have always planned on leaving to their four girls "so the family can continue to enjoy it". Now that the daughters are realizing that the end is near, the conversation has turned to the fate of the farm. One aunt wants gram and papa to sell it outright before they die and use the money to live in a nursing home instead of returning to the farm when/if Papa's able. The aunt who lived there as a kid wants to keep the farm in the family but can't afford her own taxes let alone taking on more. The other aunt would rather have the potential cash than dealing with property and my mom has said that she doesn't want the farm but doesn't want to see me lose my gardens and animals.
    Let me be clear, I know I have no legal voice in what happens but I guess I always thought the sisters would at least assume ownership of the farm and there would be time to figure out our options...
    I am sad and shocked to think that there could be no planting season this year, that my chickens will be no more, that the horses will have to be sold and all of the other closing details that come along with it that are too much to think about right now.
    I didn't have a signed lease with my grandfather or anything like that so I'm pretty sure I'll end up shut out no matter what way it goes.
    But there is part of me that just wants to keep on like I've been doing for years- caring for the animals, growing the food and keeping the house up (papa's in the hospital and gram is staying at an assisted living facility close to the hospital) and not giving up until the last paper is signed.

    I'm sorry, I know this is disjointed. I figured I'd post it in case anyone has been through it before and has something to offer on the subject.
  2. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Can you get your grandparents to leave it to a trust with the caveat that it not be sold? Or would they deed it to you? It all comes down to whether they want it to stay as a farm within the family or not. If they don't care, then it is highly likely your aunts will sell it. If your grandparents are deeding it to the aunts in hopes of it being something like a family retreat, then they should be made aware that the majority of the aunts want to sell. Talk to your grandparents and see what is in their heads.
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    So sorry to hear this, we want them to live forever but that is not how it happens.

    Look up a lawyer that does both elder law and probate.

    The new inheritance taxes might not make it worth selling at all, it might be better for all of them to 'sell' their shares to you on a financed biases...

    you keep paying rent (or start paying) you take care of electricity and taxes... and the remained gets divided in payment to them for 'selling' the land to you.
  4. FourPawz

    FourPawz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    It's depressing to see more and more farmland broken up and many times developed. And even more depressing is the investment it takes to purchase land in any acreage in these times.

    I really hope you get to keep the farm.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    So was the 80 acres to be divided 4 ways among the four daughters??? It doesn't matter what the daughters want, it's up to the grandparents if the land is still under their ownership. Do you work? Let your grandparents and your aunts know that IF they want to sell the farm, that you're very interested in buying a parcel of it - however much that is. Or if your mom ends up with 20 acres or so, offer to buy it, or part of it, from her... [​IMG]
  6. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    FireTigeris: I've never paid rent- I own a house in town, even though the bulk of my time was out at the farm in a caretaker role. Do you think I'd have any sort of legal leg to stand on if I assumed tax payments now? (I understand you were explaining it as a condition of sale)

    Gram has had several strokes and Papa has gotten increasingly weak and confused, there can't be any changes to the will at this time. He and i had talked different times over the years about my buying the farm and Papa's attitude was always that the aunts would never shut me out and that if they didn't want the land, I could buy it from them. Unfortunately, I know at least two of the aunts won't see any value in selling it to a family member and will want to chase top dollar- something I wouldn't be able to afford.
  7. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Talk to a lawyer. You can't afford not to if you want to stay there or the aunt wants to stay there. Don't talk to us, talk to Gramma and Grampa and see what THEY want. They may not want to leave it to the four girls if it means it's not going to stay in the family. Just know this. SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET PO'D NO MATTER WHAT. That's just the way it is. If gramma and grampa have a lawyer have them contact them and talk it over with the girls. Then let the chips fall where they may. They may say Auntie gets to live there til she dies. The lawyer can tell them what the options are. One thing is for sure I see a lot of folks thinking oh well I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, but never plan on what they're going to do when they get to it and we all do.
    What ever is decided GET IT IN WRITING DARN IT! Don't take anyones word for it.

    If you really want this farm to stay in the family your going to have to fight to keep it and live with someone else being mad even if it's mom and dad. They will get over it. I know I've been there, you just have to live with it til they do. This is life sweetheart.

    Hope you get to keep it. Land is the only thing you can count on being there other than God.


    One things for sure the taxes would be a lot less than a mortgage and the value won't go down.
  8. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2010
    I am so sorry for your situation, as the oldest grandchild, I saw the same thing with my dad's parent's farm. One aunt never lived there, wanted $$$$s. Dad was in the process of divorcing my mom and he wanted $$$$'s. My second aunt didn't have the means to kick in 25% of the value to pay off the other two. My third aunt (and her rich husband and his sons from a previous marriage) now own it, with his kids are in line to take it when he dies. Grandpap wanted the farm to stay "in the family", as the only grandson with the family name, because of my idiot father, I had no voice. I have not stepped foot on the property for over 20 years now, I am so disgusted with the three of the them (the poor aunt wanted the trust thing)

    The neighbors across the street had the family farm (150+ acres) put into a family trust as well as land conservatory. The only real squabble is during hunting season and whether or not some of the grandkids are there to hunt or ride 4-wheelers......[​IMG]
  9. thebirdguy

    thebirdguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2010
    Idaho Falls
    We just went through a similar situation.. The family farm started with my wife's great grandparents, her grandpa wouldn't do anything while he was alive, just kept saying, you'll have to figure that out when I am gone.. a couple of the aunts had a unrealistic idea of the value and wanted to sell it for about 10 times the value.. well long story short, 7 years later, we are the proud owners of 10 acres of the original 40. We'll be building a home and moving this spring..

    I would suggest talking to each of the aunts and your mother and make sure they know that you want to keep the farm and that your grandparents thought that they would work with you on achieving that goal. Do it now while your grandfather can still be asked his opinion.. If the aunts are told by their dad what his wishes are, it may help when he is gone..

    Best of luck!!
  10. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Like I said GET A LAWYER, IF YOU WANT IT YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT. Talk to your grandparents. Not your family! A lawyer will represent you.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

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