The Special Assets Team: Farmland and Timberland

Jul 21, 2020 | Special Assets

The Special Assets Team at Cumberland Trust, consisting of Dayton HaleApril Drennan, and Natalicia Hosseinzadeh brings together their collective expertise in all matters of unique, illiquid, and hard-to-value assets held in trust.  This installment of the Trusted Ideas blog, written by Dayton Hale, focuses on farmland and timberland held in trust. Previous blog posts have highlighted Cumberland’s directed trust platform as it applies to trust held oil, gas and mineral interests, residential real estate, and closely-held business interests.  This bifurcated fiduciary approach separating asset management from trust administration can be successfully applied to many different asset classes.  Timberland and farmland have long been drivers of wealth creation, as well as avenues for protecting and maintaining wealth for generations.  Expert asset management by individuals or professional managers in these fields can help to maximize returns for trust beneficiaries, in addition to providing proper stewardship of such legacy assets. Farm and timber holdings can evoke intense feelings of attachment 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 important to families.  Cumberland’s approach to trust administration empowers beneficiaries to determine the individual or professional that will manage these holdings.  Beneficiaries can direct Cumberland to work with individuals or professional farm and timber management companies that have the industry knowledge to properly manage such properties.  Cumberland works with a number of these vendors that negotiate timber and agricultural leases, account for ag 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 real asset holdings.  Cumberland’s Special Assets and Administration Teams work in concert with these professionals to assure proper administration of trust held properties. Part of Cumberland’s continued growth is attributed to its flexible, open-architecture approach to trust administration, which enables trust beneficiaries to have a stake in the management of their assets.  This “best of breed” structure ensures professional management of all trust-held assets: from marketable securities, to closely held business entities, and even to the family farm.