Communication early and often key to avoid estate fights: Dalke
It’s like lubricant for a tractor.
Good communication is the solution to a lot of family issues when it comes to succession planning on the farm.
Eric Dalke is a Barrister and Solicitor with MLT Aikins in Calgary.
Dalke handles fights over farm estates all the time and says the reason for the conflict is almost always because there was no communication or it came too late.
“The biggest antidote to those situations and issues is communication,” Dalke said.
“When we meet with a family, my advice always is to the family, sit down talk about it communicate run through the issues. If I’m a farmer’s son or a daughter, when do I want to get involved in the farm, when is that transition to take place?
Dalke says the issue that he sees over and over again is just a lack of sitting down, communicating it out and building that estate plan on a go forward.
“If you want to get into litigation, into dispute, it’s a delayed communication; it’s no communication at all.”
He says when he meets with a family, it usually doesn’t take long for the issues to come to the surface.
“You can tell where there are some issues definitely in certain families. My view is families are always different. If a family comes in a little difficult at the beginning, if done in the proper way, they can get through that.”
He agrees that you can often see the issue or issues right from the outset.
“You can see if a son or daughter or maybe an in-law or Mom or Dad who has hesitancy about certain aspects of a succession plan. But again, it’s like lubricant for a tractor good communication is the solution to a lot of family issues, particularly in regards to issues with farm succession.”
Dalke spoke at the Alberta Young Farmers and Ranchers Rock the Farm Event in Edmonton.
Rural Roots Canada is excited to be holding another series of Ag Days throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, and B.C. this year. These days provide ‘Practical Strategies to grow your Bottom Line,” through speakers, tours, and demonstrations while raising money for local non-profits.
The next event is in Grande Prairie at Saskatoon Lake Hall on June 23rd.