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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    24,453

    Default "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    "Who will tend to my bees when I'm gone?"

    I have a friend who has pancreatic cancer. We dedicated yesterday's Church Service to him. The Service was about storys and story telling and my friend is known as a Teller of Stories.

    Anyway, knowing how difficult it is to sell beekeeping operations of just about any size, having witnessed friends who have and those who have tried, I was wondering what sorts of arraingments you, my fellow Commercial Beekeepers, have made for when retirement or death comes?

    I'm 58 and not planning on kicking the bucket any time soon, but, Hey, ya never know. I need to get a Will in order anyway. So, I guess I'm thinking about this sort of thing somewhat.

    Anybody have this thought through and planned out? What's your story?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,706

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    This is coming from someone who doesn't really have enough bees for it to be a concern as of right now. But I do keep it in the back of my mind. I keep all my equipment standard. I buy what I can afford, and build when I can't. I figure the closer it is to "standard" the easier it will be to re-sell, whether bees are in it or not.

    But how your bees are tended after you are gone, and how the eventual proceeds of it are passed on to your loved ones depends on how your operation is organized, such as a solo practitioner, an LLC, a corporation, or a partnership.

    With a solo practitioner, you would just devise your bees away as if they were personal property in your will. You could tell the administrator of your estate to sell them to so and so, but odds are they won't get top dollar for their value. It would also be best to know in advance WHO to sell them to, or to have an agreement with someone, but this is very unlikely. Your better option is to set up a trust, and devise your bees in trust for your loved ones. The trustee can then decide what to do with them, either sell them if the price is right, or hire someone to manage them and generate income, or rent them out say to a pollinator.

    With an LLC or a corporation, you own shares in the bees. So you wouldn't actually devise the bees, but your interest in the company. This could be very beneficial, as once you pass away your loved ones could inherit the shares of your company and then file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Your loved ones could get a bankruptcy trustee involved to help manage your hives while they find a way to sell them. This ensures that they don't need to be sold now, at what is probably a poor price. They can wait till the iron is hot, so to speak.

    A partnership woud probably be best though. You can set up in your partnership agreement that if you die first, your partner is required to "buy you out." The partner could then either get a loan from a bank (or family member) to pay your interest in the partnership to your family, or could sell off enough equipment to do the same. The important part is that you own a certain interest, and then the PARTNER, and not your family, is required to do the work necessary to convert it into cash. The down side, of course, is that you need a partner, and if they die before you, you are the one finding a loan or selling equipment.

    Personally, I don't worry about it at the moment. If I die, my wife would probably contact the beekeeper's association. They would probably sell them to members at "decent" prices. But then again I don't have 500 or 10,000 hives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,766

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Around here... passing on Farm land seems to be a real issue. Many seem to have simply passed it on to their children who seem to have passed it on to theirs. For example, there is a nice 120 acre spread of swamp and timberland adjacent to the back of this farm. A number of years ago I was quite interested in buying it... after looking into who owned it... I discovered that it was owned by about 80 people... grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original owner... and they were spread from CA to who knows where. At the time... no one had paid taxes on the property in years, so I assumed at some point it would come up for auction on the courthouse steps... still hasn't though and I don't understand why.
    Seems like there are many properties like this around this rural county. Some folks are very good at knowing when such things will get auctioned and pick off some good properties at a good price. But for the guy who originally left the property in totality to all his children.... well he really just left it to the county.
    Seems like a bad way to do things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,706

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    HPM - what you are referring to is "heir's property." Often, the owner doesn't "leave" it to anyone, but it passes through intestacy. Then it continues on down the line, as you've described, until great great grandchildren (or whoever) own it, who reside all over the country. Often, this is resolved through sheriff's tax sales, as you mentioned. Sometimes one of the 80 family members will buy it at a tax auction, then turn around and sell it.

    Tax sales are a great opportunity to get some good land for very cheap. The county starts the auction for the value of the taxes owed. If it's bid up above that, great. If not, who cares, the county got their taxes. Down side is someone gets screwed out of their family farm . . . . even if no one actually used it.

    The way around this is to name in your will who gets it, rather than letting it go through intestacy. Giving it to one person, rather than all your children, avoids some of these complications.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,286

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Mark,

    I'm sorry to her about your friend. I'm 56 and I guess I still have the attitude that I'll live forever. Since I'm the only beekeeper in the family, I think I'll make arrangements with my bee club to carry out my wishes.

    Thanks for sharing.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,766

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post

    The way around this is to name in your will who gets it, rather than letting it go through intestacy. Giving it to one person, rather than all your children, avoids some of these complications.
    Exactly! My wife has a great uncle who carefully divided up everything he owned into 100 parcels and assigned one to each of his children... they in turn seem to have done the same. Now we have one whole road with people with the same name

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Well, it took me almost forty years to amass 2200 colonies of bees. I am 49--Yeah I know I started at a young age. But, I also know it will take awhile to retire out. I have no one to leave the operation to. I plan on slowly selling out, starting next year. A couple of hundred hives a year and in ten years at around age 60, I hope to be out. Then I intend to have fun with maybe ten hives. A man that worked up to 150 hives a day working ten hives?? Might take me all of 15 minutes to examine those ten hives. TED

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    None of my children are interested in my bees. I did warn my son to watch for who his sister is dating. When he inquired why he should care anything about her choice in boyfriends, I said, "Because he may ace you out of my beekeeping empire."

    To which he said, "He can have it!"

    My wife asked what would happen if I died. She was mostly interested in trying to remember where all my bee yards were at. I told her not to worry. After I die there would be a hundred cheapskates knocking on the door wanting to know if my bees were for sale. Seeing how I don't have a lot invested in my used equipment, I told her there was not much equity to even worry about and these locals wouldn't be willing to give anything for the bee hives anyway.

    I'm more concerned about my stack of scrap lumber in the garage.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    dennison MN
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    i am a young beekeeper climbing the ladder. not looking for any hand outs. but hey ted if you need to pass your bees on to some one just keep me in mind!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Susquehanna county, PA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    I guess I would make sure i had an inventory of all my equipment and what a good price for the equipment is. Also if you were inclined people not to sell to....that way when they come sniffing around they can say "sorry it was his last request that you do not get any of his bees". Can you imagine the look on their faces!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,256

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Quote Originally Posted by forgeblast View Post
    I guess I would make sure i had an inventory of all my equipment and what a good price for the equipment is. Also if you were inclined people not to sell to....that way when they come sniffing around they can say "sorry it was his last request that you do not get any of his bees". Can you imagine the look on their faces!!!
    love it! Only thing better: "His last request was to charge you a 20%premium."
    Last edited by StevenG; 09-08-2011 at 02:47 PM. Reason: addition
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,448

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Grant you should have a written inventory of what hives & gear you have, and where. I have known of whole yards of bees to just get forgotten, when someone dies or just gets too old.

    I'm surprised you guys saying about not being able to sell the business. In my country there is a keen interest in any beekeeping businesses for sale, no worries about getting stuff sold.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,453

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Such is the state of things in an Island Nation, I suppose.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    I am picking one daughter, probably my youngest, and handing her the whole fishkeeping business, hives, house, trucks and all. The older 2 do not have the interest. She is a veteran of a lot of fish work, she'd be good with bees. (and if she isn't, she'll sell them)

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,837

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Just get cremated and sprinkled into pollen sub in your bee yards, then you can watch them for eternity.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,471

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Actually, per my father's request, his ashes will be scattered this fall in a beeyard we have had since the late 40's.

    Crazy Roland

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,448

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Sounds like a lovely place to end up, Roland, he must have really loved the bees.

    I've found an advert in our NZ internet sales site, showing how succession of the business often goes here, thought I'd link it for peoples interest
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Business-fa...-409231261.htm
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    That would be a good operation to buy with Manuka honey bringing a premium. Kiwi immigration policies make it hard for someone from overseas to immigrate to NZ and purchase such an operation. You have to be younger than the middle thirties. Most people that age do not have the money to do so for that size operation. So that knocks me out. And to go to Australia you have to bring 250,000 dollars also, so that knocks me out again. So Oldtimer, while I would love to keep bees in NZ, I think I will stay here and visit you and the bees down under as a tourist. Ted Kretschmann

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,453

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    You speak New Zealand do you Ted? lol

    JUst funnin' ya Oldtimer. Wish I could fly, I'd consider such a trip. If I won the Lottery.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: "When my life is over, I will sing this song."

    Mark, that would be a good trip to go on. Maybe one day. I will add it to my bucket list of things to do. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

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