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New will and estate pre-planning tool available for Canadian producers

Dec 12, 2023

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is announcing the release of a new Will and Estate Pre-Planning Tool for Canadian farms. It will provide producers with the starting point they need to think about how to successfully plan for the future of their operations.

The Farm Transition - Will and Estate Pre-Planning Tool for Canadian farms is based on Dr. Tom Deans’ Willing Wisdom Index platform. It has been adapted to reflect the unique needs of Canadian farm owners. Producers will get their own personalized recommendations and checklist minutes after answering a series of questions. The checklist will identify what is being done well and any existing gaps in estate planning.

“The tool is meant to give urgency to a conversation that families often find difficult to start,” said Dr. Tom Deans, intergenerational wealth transfer expert, speaker and author. “There’s no other industry where a business owner forges such a close emotional connection to the business. You live on the very thing you are working. It’s more than a business, it’s an identity and to transition it to someone else is excruciating and a deeply emotional subject.”

The will and estate tool can be used to start a conversation between family members on how to bring in and use resources like lawyers, accountants and wealth advisors in their plans.

“Many people in the agriculture industry tell us that will and estate planning is an overwhelming task and so it’s common for producers to avoid it. This tool complements the FCC’s Advisory Services who are already helping Canadian farmers begin these conversations,” said Greg Thomarat, FCC manager, advisory services. “By using the tool, producers will gain greater insight into this important step in their transition journey, as well as come away with a list of questions to bring to their advisors in advance of those plans.”

“Once families get rolling on it, they are remarkably resilient at moving through the planning process,” said Deans. “Often the second generation is waiting for their parents to say ‘hey we need to talk about where the farm is going’, but the kids don’t know how to start the conversation and the parents are afraid of the conversation and then if someone dies, it’s a mess.”

Deans encourages people to point to the report as a reason to start talking about will and estate planning and avoid the erosion of family relationships and wealth.

“A farmer will take 8 to 10 minutes, go through the checklist, hit enter, get the report and see what they have to do. The recommendations will be clear and a common one will be to sit down and talk to the family,” said Deans. “You can blame the index and say ‘hey I did this, and it says we should sit down. What do you guys think?’ Blame the report but now you have something in your hand that you can point to which is very different than saying ‘we need to talk’.”

The will and estate pre-planning tool is free, completely anonymous and confidential. The personalized checklist and recommendations producers receive include actions that can be taken immediately. They can then go back to the tool multiple times to see their score improve and checklist change based on what they have accomplished. It can be found at WillingWisdom.com/FCC.

About FCC

FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, dedicated to the industry that feeds the world. FCC employees are committed to the long-standing success of those who produce and process Canadian food by providing flexible financing, AgExpert business management software, information and knowledge. FCC provides a complement of expertise and services designed to support the complex and evolving needs of food businesses. As a financial Crown corporation, FCC is a stable partner that reinvests profits back into the industry and communities it serves. For more information, visit fcc.ca.


For more information or interviews, please contact:

Jill McAlister
Corporate Communication 
Farm Credit Canada