What to Do After Inheriting Land in Missouri

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Missouri
By

Bart Waldon

Missouri, the Gateway to the West, is a state filled with natural beauty, rolling plains, thick forests, major waterways, and vibrant cities. With over 44,000 square miles of land area and a diverse landscape, Missouri offers many opportunities for land ownership and use. From the Ozark Mountains in the south to the northern plains stretching to Iowa and Illinois, inheriting land in Missouri can be both an exciting prospect and a complex process to navigate.

When land is inherited in the Show Me State, the new landowner is faced with several considerations pertaining to the inherited property. What is the land currently being used for and could its utility be expanded or altered to produce income, recreation or conservation value? What liabilities and responsibilities come with the land and are there any legal issues surrounding the inheritance that must be settled? Who should be consulted regarding the management and oversight of the land going forward? This article will provide a helpful guide on essential steps to take when land has been inherited in Missouri.

Gain a Full Understanding of the Inherited Land

The first order of business after inheriting property in Missouri is to conduct a thorough review of all available details pertaining to the land. It’s critical to understand attributes of the inherited real estate such as:

  • Location – What county and municipality is the land located in? Obtain the full legal property address and map coordinates.
  • Acreage – Verify total acres and survey maps showing precise property boundaries.
  • Zoning classification – Check municipal zoning maps for designation such as residential, agricultural, commercial, etc.
  • Existing structures & resources – Take inventory of any buildings, roads, utility infrastructure, water resources, mineral deposits, timber, etc.
  • Current usage – How has the previous owner utilized the land and are there any pre-existing leases, rights or claims still in effect?
  • Value assessment – Obtain professional appraisal of property's fair market value based on attributes and local land values.

In addition to the physical traits of the inherited real estate, it’s also important to review any existing legal conditions associated with the property. Search public records to uncover activity such as liens, taxes owed, lease contracts, mineral/water rights leased to others, bankruptcies, judgements and any other encumbrances on the land. The county assessor’s office, land records office and a real estate attorney can help uncover this information.

Having a complete profile of the inherited property allows smarter decisions to be made on how to manage, improve or potentially sell the land if desired. This due diligence also protects against liability issues down the road.

Evaluate Options for Utilization of the Land

Once a 360 degree perspective of the inherited real estate is attained, the next step is determining how to best utilize the new asset. There are many avenues that can be pursued, usually falling into three main buckets – keep for personal use, generate income from the land, or sell the property.

Some key options to consider:

  • Build a private residence – If zoning permits, you may want to construct a home to reside on or vacation at.
  • Lease land for farming/ranching – Leasing acreage to farmers or ranchers can produce steady rental income.
  • Lease land for hunting/recreation – Hunting leases or permits for public recreation often generate substantial revenues.
  • Harvest timber, minerals, other resources – Mature timber, natural gas, minerals and water resources may be sold if available.
  • Develop/re-zone land for commercial use – Zoning permitting, properties near expanding cities can become retail, industrial parks etc.
  • Create rural subdivisions for homesites – Partitioning large acreage into smaller parcels is profitable in many markets.
  • Hold for price appreciation – Delaying action on undeveloped land to realize future valuation growth.
  • Sell for immediate return – Marketing property to individual buyers or companies that purchase land.

In deciding how to best utilize inherited land in Missouri, location and zoning restrictions must be weighed against resources present and relative costs to add value through development initiatives. Input from real estate professionals in the local market can help identify where demand and upside potential may exist.

Execute Administration & Set up Oversight

With decisions made regarding intended usage of the inherited real estate, smart management and oversight must be established. Even if simply holding the land, aspects like ongoing taxes, lease contracts, regulations and liability still require administration.

Key items that need to be properly executed include:

  • Filing deed record of inherited property transfer with county registrar.
  • Paying any back taxes if owed to avoid future tax lien.
  • Opening estate account for tracking income, taxes and expenses.
  • Insurance coverage obtained fitting type of property and assets.
  • Homeowners association notified if part of managed development.

Ongoing governance of inherited land also benefits greatly by designating or hiring professionals suited to provide oversight based on the type of property and intended use case. This can remove burden from the land owner and ensures competent administration is applied at all times. These may include:

  • Property manager - Oversees leasing, rent collection, maintenance etc.
  • Farm/ranch manager – Stewards ag leasing, crop planting, livestock, equipment etc.
  • Forestry manager – Manages forest inventory, timber harvest planning/reseeding.
  • Mineral rights leasing firm – Markets oil/gas/mineral deposit leases.

By buttoning down record-keeping, insurance coverage and oversight early on, inherited land can produce great benefit for years to come.

Maximizing the Potential of Inherited Land

Maximize Development Options

When inheriting rural acreage, exploring all avenues for usage and development is key to unlocking full potential value. Analyze feasibility of building residential structures or bringing in power/water access to open more buildable sites if plots inherited are expansive. Research viability for commercial development also based on location attributes and zoning constraints or opportunities.

Tap Income Streaming Avenues

In addition to development plays, inherited land typically provides multiple options for generating income streams. Leasing acreage for farming, ranching or logging can produce steady rental proceeds from the land itself. Hunting and recreation leases also leverage natural assets into profits. For properties with oil, gas or mineral deposits, rights can be sold or leased out to resource companies as well.

Account for Appreciation Prospects

Beyond income generation, inherited rural land commonly benefits from gradually increasing property values over time. As nearby cities expand outward and private lands get consumed for housing, values often spike exponentially. This “banking on appreciation” strategy requires no effort beyond retaining ownership, although still budgeting for tax/interest obligations.

Secure Local Area Expert Guidance

While personal aspirations help guide decisions on inherited land, securing expertise from real estate specialists in the local market provides immense clarity. Brokerages and property management professionals active in the specific county know regional zoning codes, buyer preferences and cost considerations that outsiders lack. Tapping this market intelligence minimizes missteps and maximizes outcomes.

Lean on Land Acquisition Firms’ Experience

For those feeling overwhelmed in evaluating everything required to properly manage extensive acreage, selling to established land companies presents a convenient exit option. Firms like Land Boss having purchased over 100 properties work directly with owners to negotiate fair deals, handling all title transfers/disputes. Their extensive experience also gets deals closed quickly so inheritors can move on. Though maximum sale prices are forfeited, the hands-off convenience and speed have considerable appeal.

Final Thoughts

While inheriting any amount of acreage in the state of Missouri can be an intriguing opportunity, thoughtful planning must be undertaken to ensure the land asset gains value instead of racking up headaches. Careful attention paid to details of the property, options weighing for usage/development and establishing hands-on administration will lead to fruitful outcomes.

With prime oversight and management provided by seasoned real estate professionals well-versed in rural land matters, the inheritor can feel at ease that their inherited asset will be optimally leveraged. Companies like Land Boss assisting over 100 Missouri families in recent years take pride in unlocking an inherited property's full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to immediately pay taxes on inherited land?

No, inherited land receives a stepped-up tax basis so capital gains taxes are minimized. You only need to pay annual property taxes which can be budgeted for.

Should I sell the inherited property or keep it?

That depends on your personal financial situation and intentions for the land. Consider costs to develop vs holding for appreciation or income generation from leasing out. Weigh tax implications also.

What type of lawyer should I consult about inherited land?

A real estate attorney can help handle land transfer paperwork, review title claims, negotiate sales/leases and offer guidance on tax liabilities. Estate lawyers also useful tapping inheritance expertise.

I inherited farmland - what are my agriculture lease options?

Cash rent leases offer fixed annual payment while crop-share leases pay owner portion of harvest value. Farm lease terms average 3-5 years. Seek professional guidance to ensure favorable lease terms.

How can I determine fair market value for inherited acreage?

Commission a formal appraisal from a licensed professional real estate appraiser in your county who regularly values comparable rural properties. Unique aspects like water access impact prices.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.

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