PBJ How Oregon Works: Addressing Rural Oregon’s Talent Gap with Careful Transition Planning


For Portland Business Journal’s 2019 How Oregon Works series “The Talent Gap” installment, Stoel Rives’ natural resources and environmental law attorney Kirk Maag and estate planning attorney Steven Bell contributed an article titled “Addressing rural Oregon’s talent gap with careful transition planning,” published June 28, 2019. The authors discuss means available to reduce the obstacles facing young people considering returning to the rural Oregon communities where they grew up to take over family businesses or create their own businesses.

The authors note that two common issues impact the ability of a young person to take over a business in a rural community – the businesses are often the primary investment of the owner and serve as an informal retirement account, and many are capital intensive and difficult to take over for individuals who may have limited financial resources.

Options they suggest to aid in a transition in ownership include:

  • Foster participation and engagement by providing opportunities for a small direct ownership stake in the company through gifting.
  • Arrange an installment sale of the company, which can ease the limitations on available capital to the purchaser.
  • Set up a stewardship trusts – “non-charitable trusts designed to serve a particular goal or mission rather than to provide a benefit to a defined beneficiary or a class of beneficiaries.”

The authors conclude, “Addressing the rural talent gap will require proactive planning and creative solutions.”

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