BLACKSBURG, Va. — The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Cooperative Extension encourage landowners to make plans – now – for passing on their land to the next generation. The Generation NEXT program, a partnership between the Virginia Department of Forestry and Extension, helps Virginia landowners make plans to keep forests intact, in forest, and in family.
As an integral part of both Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, Extension works in communities across the commonwealth to share knowledge, support businesses, and implement research that advances the well-being of all Virginians.
To help landowners get started and clarify misconceptions about the legacy planning process, the Generation NEXT program is hosting in-person and virtual workshops this summer and fall. The workshops, which will take place in South Boston, Galax, and New Kent, serve as opportunities for family members to ask difficult questions, receive useful information, and get on the same page about their plans for the future.
Typically, these sessions are only in-person, but a virtual workshop has been added so dispersed families can take advantage of these helpful resources and tools that make the planning process more accessible and manageable.
To participate in the workshops, families pay a single fee to participate. Registration opens up six weeks prior to each workshop. Visit the Extension website for more information.
In-person workshop dates are:
- Aug. 26-27 in South Boston
- Oct. 27 in Galax
- Nov. 2 in New Kent County
- Virtual workshops take place from 3-5 p.m. on Sept. 7, 8, 14, and 15.
“Many landowners are overwhelmed by the legacy planning process and assume that it primarily involves complicated estate planning with attorneys and accountants,” said Karl Didier, the Virginia Department of Forestry’s forestland conservation program manager. “The Generation NEXT program helps to ease estate planning and demonstrates how it’s just one part of the legacy planning process. Legacy planning is an ongoing process. Much like a forest changes over time, your plans will evolve. As priorities change or family dynamics shift, so should plans for your land.”
With the Generation NEXT program, Extension and the Virginia Department of Forestry provide the opportunity for families to engage with their land legacy planning.
“One of the most important steps in legacy planning includes conversations between the landowner and the people who will steward their land after they’re gone,” said Generation NEXT Program Coordinator Karen Snape. “When unforeseen events occur before clearly established plans for your estate and land can be put in place, things can quickly become complicated for surviving family members. Having these conversations now is critical.”
A companion to the workshop series, the award-winning Legacy Planning: A Guide for Virginia Landowners publication,
Generation NEXT is an award-winning and nationally recognized program that helps guide landowners and their families as they navigate a subject involving difficult conversations. While there is an expense to planning an orderly transfer of land to the next generation, the cost of not planning that may put the future of the land, and even family unity, in jeopardy. By researching and planning ahead of time, landowners can ensure their wishes are met and minimize financial costs and emotional challenges while securing a woodland legacy for generations to come.
–Max Esterhuizen, Virginia Tech University