Document Type


Publication Date



Economics Department

Circular Number



farm transfer, farm taxes, inheritance, estate taxes


This publication discusses why farm and agri-business managers and families should plan their estates and suggests considerations in planning, including titles, transfers, and taxes. Farm examples are used throughout. However, the principles presented apply to many types of family situations. The information is not intended as a substitute for competent advice from an attorney, an insurance estate planning advisor, a bank trust officer, accountant, or other competent estate-planning worker. Rather it raises questions and suggests action that may encourage a family to seek professional help to fulfill its objectives and goals. Estate planning has often been a neglected management activity among rural South Dakotans. When viewed as part of farm and family financial management, it will likely be more interesting to work with. An estate plan involves developing a family's financial, educational, and social goals. It needs to provide a satisfactory income and security. A good plan includes the accumulation and management of real and personal property; selection, and in some cases involvement, of heirs in the estate plan; and provisions for care of minor children. The impact of estate and inheritance taxes should be carefully considered. On estates above certain sizes the federal government levies an estate tax. South Dakota levies an inheritance tax on individuals who receive property from a deceased person. Both taxes are progressive in that the larger the estate and inheritance, the greater the tax rate or percent of an estate that is used to satisfy tax demands. The South Dakota tax rate varies with the degree of relationship of the heirs to the deceased. There are a number of estate planning tools that if properly used can help you obtain your objectives. To clearly understand the tools and the nature of estate planning and to develop your own plan requires a considerable amount of planning time and help. Some tools that you may want to become acquainted with include: wills, property title arrangements, transfer by gifts and sale, trusts, annuities, partnerships and small corporations, life insurance, and the nature of the various taxes.










South Dakota State State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Agricultural Experiment Station