Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition - Elaine Froese | Canada’s Farm Whisperer | Your go-to expert for farm families who want better communication and conflict resolution to secure a successful farm transition


Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Communication, Farm Family, Farm Family Coaching, Grainews Articles

The best gift you can give your family this holiday season is certainty for the future, and a clear explanation of why you have made the decisions you have around the transfer of your wealth.

I’ve put the following 26 Myths of Entitlement vs. Fairness together for you to use to help your family get real about expectations surrounding the transition of wealth in your family, and your farm business.

Addressing myths about entitlement versus fairness in farm family transitions can be crucial for fostering a smoother transition process. Here are 26 common myths that farm families may have about this topic:

Myth 1: Fairness means equality.

  • Reality: Fairness often requires distributing assets or responsibilities based on individual needs and contributions.

Myth 2: The eldest child is entitled to inherit the farm.

  • Reality: Inheritance should be based on merit and interest, not birth order.

Myth 3: All children should inherit equally, regardless of involvement in the farm.

  •  Reality: Fairness may involve rewarding those actively working on the farm more than non-participating heirs.

Myth 4: Fairness means leaving no one disappointed.

  •  Reality: It’s impossible to please everyone entirely; focus on what’s equitable and sustainable.

Myth 5: Children who leave the farm have no claim to its assets.

  • Reality: Non-farming children may still have legitimate interests or investments in the family business.

Myth 6: Entitlement is always a bad thing.

  • Reality: Acknowledging contributions or sacrifices made by family members can be healthy.

Myth 7: The older generation should retain control indefinitely.

  • Reality: Succession planning should include transitioning control to the next generation gradually.

Myth 8: Fairness means everything must be split 50/50.

  • Reality: Fairness considers various factors, not just a 50/50 division.

Myth 9: Inheritors are entitled to everything the farm generates.

  • Reality: Sustainability and reinvestment in the farm’s future must also be considered.

Myth 10: Fairness can be determined without open communication.

  • Reality: Fairness requires clear, ongoing, and transparent discussions among family members.

Myth 11: Parents should provide an equal financial starting point for all heirs.

  • Reality: Different children may have different needs, abilities, and opportunities.

Myth 12: Fairness is solely about assets; emotions don’t matter.

  • Reality: Emotional well-being and family harmony are essential aspects of fairness.

Myth 13: Fairness can be achieved with a one-size-fits-all plan.

  • Reality: Each family’s circumstances are unique, and solutions should be tailored accordingly.

Myth 14: The older generation must decide everything for the younger generation.

  • Reality: Involving the younger generation in decision-making fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Myth 15: Fairness means avoiding conflict at all costs.

  • Reality: Addressing conflicts constructively can lead to a fairer outcome in the long run.

Myth 16: Only active labor should be compensated.

  • Reality: Contributions like management, expertise, or capital investments also deserve recognition.

Myth 17: Fairness doesn’t require written agreements.

  • Reality: Legal documents can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

Myth 18: The next generation should automatically take over when the older generation

  • Reality: Succession should be based on competence and readiness, not just age.

Myth 19: Parents should make all decisions before discussing them with their heirs.

  • Reality: Involving heirs in decision-making can lead to better solutions and greater acceptance.

Myth 20: The farm’s history and tradition should determine everything.

  • Reality: Tradition can be valuable, but it should not impede necessary changes for sustainability.

Myth 21: Heirs are entitled to the same opportunities, regardless of their interests or skills.

  • Reality: Encouraging heirs to pursue their passions and strengths can benefit the farm.

Myth 22: Fairness requires sacrificing the farm’s profitability.

  • Reality: Fairness and profitability can coexist with careful planning.

Myth 23: Addressing entitlement issues can be postponed indefinitely.

  • Reality: Procrastination can lead to family conflicts and jeopardize the farm’s future.

Myth 24: Fairness means treating all heirs exactly the same.

  • Reality: Fairness involves recognizing individual circumstances and needs.

Myth 25: Entitlement issues will resolve themselves over time.

  • Reality: Addressing entitlement requires proactive efforts and open dialogue.

Myth 26: Fairness is a one-time decision.

  • Reality: Fairness should be an ongoing consideration, adapting to changing circumstances.

Addressing these myths and fostering open, honest communication can help farm families navigate the complexities of entitlement and fairness during the transition process.

“Being clear is kind“ ~Brené Brown.


Elaine Froese, CSP, CAFA, CHICoach, and her coaching team are here to work with farm families in transition to find harmony through understanding. Listen to Elaine’s podcast here.

Did you enjoy Entitlement vs. Fairness in Farm Transition? You might want to check these articles out too:

Family Dynamics: Are you going to be the leader of a healthier dynamic
Farmers need to find time for family

The Emotional and Financial Cost of Nastiness

Follow Elaine on Social for More Helpful Farm Family Advice!


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