Post-Mortem Estate Planning Critical to Minnesota Farmers

If you're a Minnesota farmer, it's important to understand the various aspects of estate planning in order to maximize your estate tax savings and minimize your financial burden. Post-mortem estate planning is an effective way to reduce estate taxes and ensure that your family farm is passed along to future generations. Here's what you need to know about post-mortem estate planning, family farm land deductions, and estate tax savings in Minnesota.

Post-Mortem Estate Planning

Post-mortem estate planning is an essential part of any successful estate plan, but what is it? It involves making sure that all documents are up-to-date and accurate before death, as well as reviewing and revising any existing documents after death. For example, if you have a will or trust in place, post-mortem estate planning would involve ensuring that the document is current with all relevant laws and regulations. This step can save your family time and money when it comes time to settle your final affairs.

From there, we are able to fully utilize the tools built into the estate plan. Most of the time, the family must take action within 9 months after death. Working with a qualified farm estate planning attorney is essential in this process. In this stage, it is important to analyze both the decedent’s estate as well as the surviving spouse’s, if applicable. Using this information, we develop a strategy for maximizing the Minnesota estate tax exemption as well as taking advantage of various estate tax deduction. For many Minnesota farmers, the Minnesota family farm land deduction can result in a huge estate tax savings if properly utilized.

Family Farm Land Deductions

One way for farmers in Minnesota to maximize their estate tax savings is through family farm land deductions. These deductions allow farmers who own a certain amount of farmland to deduct up to $2,000,000 from their taxable estates when filing their final returns. To take advantage of this deduction, farmers must have owned the land for at least three years prior to death, the land must be classified as agricultural homestead in the year of death, the land must pass to a qualified heir or heirs, and the qualified heirs must agree that they will not sell the land for at least three years after death. Although this can result in significant tax savings, the family must proactively take advantage of this deduction! All too often it can be missed, resulting in potentially huge unnecessary estate taxes.

Estate Tax Savings

In addition to reducing the overall taxable amount of an estate through deductions like those available for family farms, there are also other ways for families in Minnesota to save on their taxes when settling an estate. For example, spouses can transfer assets between them without incurring any tax liability while also taking advantage of other exemptions or deductions available under state law. Additionally, many Minnesota farmers can safely take advantage of lifetime gifting to reduce the size of their estates.


When it comes to post-mortem estate planning for Minnesota farmers, understanding how family farm land deductions can help lower taxes can be key in ensuring maximum savings upon one’s passing. Additionally, there are other options available such as asset transfers between spouses or exemptions from taxation on certain items which could provide further savings depending on individual circumstances. Working with an experienced farm lawyer can help ensure that all applicable measures are taken so that no opportunity for saving funds goes overlooked when settling one’s final affairs.

Categories: Estate Planning, Farm