Making Your Land A Legacy

forestry landownership longterm management planning women landowners Nov 14, 2022

Tell me if this sounds familiar

  • You load the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner because it irks you when it's "not stacked right..."
  • You fold the laundry at 10:00pm and put it away "to make sure it gets put in the right spot" and to avoid the 3,000 texts/calls asking about Lucy's shorts and Gordon's socks or whether your dress pants get hung up or folded...
  • You plan to go to the grocery store between kid drop off and your zoom call in 35 minutes because it's "just easier than trying to explain where to find THAT one brand of yogurt your kids will only eat..."

You're just trying to get the task done effectively and efficiently.

And because you are the one that typically does these chores, it's "easier" and a lot faster to "just do it" than trying to delegate the work to someone else or involve your kids in the process (especially toddlers!)

All the while we tell ourselves we'll get them to help "later"
                                         .... when there's more time
                                                           .... when they're older
                                                                     

So day after day you continue to manage ALL the household needs and tasks.

...And those days become weeks, which become months, which become years...

And then widows are left not knowing where the checkbook is left.... where their favorite pj pants are put.... or who the internet service provide is...

Kids move out not knowing how long to boil eggs; how to make coffee in a pot; or how to iron pleats into pants or shirts (that's me... I can't iron pleats....) 

For the sake of short term ease, we sacrifice long term benefits
(and potentially our legacy.)

Now I know as you're reading this, you see the "easy solution":

Just take the time UPFRONT to better explain the process... or even better, bring others into the tasks!

Let them stack the dishwasher the way they want - as long as you end up with clean dishes in the end, does it actually matter how they get that way does it?! I know some of you are literally cringing at this idea, but stay with me... 

This also happens when it comes to your land management. 

  • You just replant the trees the way you always did, the way you were taught, using the same contractors and the same spacing because you just need to get the work completed. And it's easier for you to just do it! You already have the connections after all and know the terminology, and you don't actually need it written down to understand what needs to be done to complete the work! 
  • You disk up the same food plot, in the same area, using the same crop rotations because deer season is coming fast and even though it didn't do as well as you'd have liked the past hunting season(s), it's better to have it done than not, right?
  • You just sell the timber with the same consultant you've been using for 20 years and know you need the funding for Lucy's upcoming college tuition. 

And time ticks by...

Although you've enjoyed some father/daughter, mother/son hunting trips or family outings on the land... it comes time to pass the land on and it's a "surprise" when the next generation isn't as ecstatic to continue in the landownership boat, but rather have more of a nonchalance demeanor. Or even worse, a widowed spouse having enjoyed many memories on the land is completely overwhelmed and anxiously stressed on decisions to do WITH the land. Although having reaped the benefits of a sustainably managed forest, has never participated in the decision-making process. 

The solution is the same as before... and like before it is also just as easier said than done

Get your beneficiaries involved. Get them involved as early as possible. 

You'll not only be sharing memories together, but hands-on experiences. It is in the doing that they'll not only reduce their future anxious stress levels, but it is in the doing that legacy's are created. 

There is sweat and hope built into the best legacies... 

You are not only creating and establishing the unquantifiable value your land holds;

But you might be surprised by the new AND innovative opportunities brought to the table for a more efficient, sustainable forest by including them during the decision makings today. 

So I challenge you!

The very next management task... insist on your spouse/kids involvement in the decision AND execution of the management. 

Don't take no for an answer, and remember to be patient, what is routine for you is new to them.

And when you do, share with us! I'd love to hear how it all worked out!

 

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