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Status of Borson Farm

Robert Borson updates relatives on his plans and the disposition of the family farm following Hazel's death.

From: Robert Borson []
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:15 PM
To: Paul & Mardy Dovre; Richard & Nancy Borson; David & Jane Borson; Ralph & Norma Dovre; A.W. & Wanda Turner; Don Borson & Carol Cameron
Cc: Mrs. Bonnie Hanson; Ms. Barbara J. Hanson; Mr Nathan Borson; Kathy, Nick & Ben Borson; Mr Bruce Hanson; Eric, Kelli & Vanessa Hanson; Susan Haynes
Subject: Status of Borson Farm

Dear Family,

Bonnie is in Portland, Oregon visiting Eric, Kelli, and Vanessa for a while, and she asked if I would give you an update on the Borson family farm situation.

As you may know, Bonnie and I have owned the North 80 of the 160-acre farm for many years. The South 80 containing the farmstead had been set up by Mom as a Life Estate in 1991. This deeded the property to Bonnie and me and allowed Mom to live there, earn its income, and pay its taxes until her death.

Shortly after Mom passed away, Bonnie and I agreed that Susan and I would buy Bonnie's share of the 6-acre farmstead and would move there from Alabama. Our plan was to live in the farmhouse—renovating it and maintaining  the property for years to come. (Bonnie and I would continue to lease out the 154 farmland acres.)

However, while Susan and I were in Minnesota to transact that business earlier this month, our attorney pointed out a last-minute legal complication. It turns out Bonnie had  created a Life Estate this summer that inadvertedly transferred title of her share of the farm to her children and their spouses. In order to proceed with the transaction, we would have to get the signatures of her three children and their spouses, none of whom had been involved in the agreement Bonnie and I had worked out.

This caused a halt in the proceedings. It also unexpectedly gave Susan and me a chance to further consider the enormous cost and responsibility of taking over the farmstead and remodeling it. We also re-evaluated giving up our beautiful home and wonderful way of life in Birmingham.

We decided not to go ahead with the plan to move to the farm. We returned to Birmingham and took our home off the market, with every intention of remaining here.

Meanwhile, Bonnie has set in motion the legal process to reverse her Life Estate. This will allow Bruce, Barb, Eric, and their spouses to deed back to her what all of them believed was her property. Once that has taken place, which should be soon, Bonnie and I will then be able to determine how best to handle the 160-acre farmland and farmstead.

Susan and I were looking forward to a change of pace on the prairie, and we were sincere in believing that we  could preserve the family farm. However, this turn of events gave us a chance to re-evaluate our course of action, and we believe it would have actually been a very big mistake for us.  Susan is 60, and I am 69, and this would have been quite an undertaking for us at this stage of life. The delay caused by Bonnie's situation was actually a blessing in disguise for us.

It is also a special blessing for Susan: To get our Birmingham house ready to sell, we finished a whole series of small home improvements that I had been dragging my heels on for years ;-)