March 6, 13: Workshop helps families keep lands intact

By Kate Halstead, WSU Extension

family-land-workshop-230EVERETT, Wash. – Many landowners want to preserve their family lands and associated businesses but don’t know how to engage the next generation(s) in the process. A two-part succession planning workshop, including dinners, will be 5-9 p.m. Thursdays, March 6 and 13, at the Washington State University Snohomish County Extension Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.

The workshop is a facilitated mix of presentations and practical exercises to help families develop techniques they need to address tough issues and resources. The focus will be helping landowners large and small start succession plan discussions using the award-winning “Ties to the Land” curriculum.

Class size is limited and pre-paid registration is required. Cost is $50 per family/ownership and includes a workbook and dinner for two each evening. Additional workbooks ($25) and meals ($10) are available.

To register, visit or download the form at and mail with a check. For more information on the course, contact Holly Thompson, or 425-357-6022.

Understanding motivations; addressing challenges

“Talking about these tough issues as a family is critical, especially when multiple heirs with varying levels of interest in the family business are involved,” said past participant and local landowner Don Theoe. “The ‘Ties to the Land’ workshop and associated materials provide excellent guidance on how to get these conversations going.”

Succession planning, often called the “human side of estate planning,” is quite different and is considered a precursor to a traditional estate plan. The focus is on communication and big-picture planning within families with an eye to keeping a property and/or business intact for future generations.

Building awareness of the different things motivating family members, while providing tools to address challenges in a positive way, is core to the workshop.

Attorney, tax planner speak

Guest speakers will include:

* Estate-planning attorney Amy Allison from Anderson Hunter law firm in Everett. Her areas of practice include estate and trust planning, elder law, probate administration, guardianship, real estate transactions, business formation and transactions, and business succession planning. As a Nebraska native, she brings a family farm background to her practice.

* Business financial and tax planner Michelle VanDellen, certified public accountant and senior manager at Moss Adams LLP. She works with family owned businesses, partnerships and S corporations as well as food and agriculture-related businesses and business owners.

She offers specialized solutions to agriculture-related industries concerning growing, storing, packing, selling and processing. She advises clients on accounting issues, federal and state taxes, estate planning and business succession transition planning.

“Ties to the Land” is an award-winning curriculum developed by leading estate planning experts at Oregon State University Extension and the Austin Family Business Program.

The workshop is sponsored and hosted by WSU Snohomish County Extension, Washington FarmLink/Cascade Harvest Coalition, U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, WSU Extension Forestry, Snohomish Conservation District and Moss Adams LLP.



Holly Thompson, WSU Extension educator, 425-357-6022,

Kate Halstead, WSU Extension agriculture, 360-794-6081,