Trust-held Special Assets: Timberland and Farmland

Jan 25, 2023 | Special Assets

One approach to creating a well-developed estate plan is to utilize a trust to protect assets and ensure they are preserved for future generations.

Timberland and farmland are assets individuals commonly choose to place in trust due to the significant role these real properties can play in establishing and maintaining family wealth. Land holdings often evoke strong feelings of attachment and sentimentality among family members. Whether it is row crop acreage that family members have occupied, worked, and enjoyed for generations, or a stand of hardwood timber that has been routinely harvested and recreationally enjoyed for decades—these income-producing assets are invaluable to families. Some families have a desire to ensure their property holdings are responsibly managed under a trustee structure that not only protects and maximizes the value of these assets, but also promotes good stewardship.

As an independent, directed trustee, Cumberland Trust is well-positioned to understand and help families retain unique assets held in trust. We specialize in education, administration, and client service, while the client’s chosen professional advisors manage the trust’s assets. This distinct difference sets Cumberland Trust apart from other corporate fiduciaries and allows us to focus on providing our clients with high quality, personalized trust and estate administration services.

Cumberland Trust has a dedicated Special Assets team comprised of professionals who have years of experience working with timberland and farmland. Our team coordinates the special asset management in conjunction with an external asset manager selected by the client(s). Beneficiaries can direct Cumberland Trust to work with an individual, family member, or a professional farm and timber management company that possesses the industry knowledge required to properly manage such properties. This arrangement empowers clients to remain involved with the special asset management. Cumberland Trust collaborates with many vendors that negotiate timber and agricultural leases, account for agriculture and timber income, apply for and procure federal and state subsidies and assistance, maintain property infrastructure and improvements, and all other facets of management that accompany these asset holdings.

Income producing farmland and timber are yet another asset class that can benefit from the directed trustee model. It is important to consult an estate planning professional who can help you develop a strategy for your estate plan that is right for you and your family’s specific circumstances, while considering any special assets.