Do’s and Don’ts – Passing Your Land on


  1. DO…Plan early.
  2. DO…Seek the help of estate planning/financial/forestry professionals.
  3. DO…Create a shared family vision of what you and your family want to do with the land.
  4. DO…Establish and write down your shared goals.
  5. DO…Maintain open communication and seek the help of an objective mediator if there are past hurts and differences that you cannot overcome on your own.
  6. DO…Listen well to what other family members are saying so that you can understand where they are coming from – instead of reacting first, losing your temper, yelling and walking away.
  7. DO…Respect everyone’s feelings and fears about the transfer process. When people know what is planned, they are better able to cope with and accept the plan.
  8. DO…Consider the plans of others so that you can arrive at a plan that is best for everyone.
  9. DO…Be patient and works towards harmony and a positive estate planning result.
  10. DO…Balance the older generation’s involvement with the younger generation’s involvement so that everyone has a stake in and responsibility for the outcome.


  1. DON’T…Wait to write your will or transfer plan, so that your children will be left with an inheritance mess after you’re gone.
  2. DON’T…Put off planning or making decisions.
  3. DON’T…Be silent and refuse to discuss your wishes about estate transfer, and ignore other family members’ viewpoints.
  4. DON’T…Blame others for problems and hold on to anger or resentments.
  5. DON’T…Block the younger generation from any involvement in goal setting or decision making and keep information from younger family members. That is a sure way to increase family conflict.
  6. DON’T…Hold on to total control of the family business when the whole family needs to be involved.
  7. DON’T…Assume others know what you want.
  8. DON’T…Resist transferring to the next generation. This way they have the least influence and the most stress (Keating & Munro, 1989).
  9. DON’T…Ignore wake-up calls like a farm/ranch accident, illness or death.
  10.  DON’T…Let your inaction distress your family and children.