Inheritance Pitfalls: Family & Business - Makofsky Valente Law Group, P.C.

Blended Families Can Create Challenges;
So Can Family Businesses

[This is the final part in our 3-part series on Inheritance Pitfalls and how to avoid them. We hope you enjoyed Part 1: Family Favorites and Part 2: Great Expectations.]

In this final installment of our Inheritance Pitfalls series, we look at two common scenarios that can create inheritance nightmares, and how to best avoid them.

My family business means the world to me. I’ve invested my whole career in it, as did my father before me. I have three adult children with kids of their own. My two sons have never been interested in the business — they have their own careers in totally different fields. My daughter, however, has been involved since she was in high school. She worked at the business after school and then went to college and got a business degree. Since then she’s been a vital part of our family business, keeping us moving forward and growing. I am making my Will now and I am not sure how to leave the business to my daughter without hurting my sons.

A family business can be a tricky situation, but you have options. One option is to have your daughter buy you out of the business now, and then divide your estate equally between your children in your Will. Another option is to give the non-involved children a smaller (non-controlling) share of the business. But whatever you do, beware of setting up a situation that pits your children against each other in vying for control of your company.

My husband and I got married in our late 40’s and we each had children from a previous marriage. We’ve been together for 20 years now, and I’m making my Will. I’d like to leave my estate to my husband while he is alive, and then have it go to MY children. But I’m afraid that if I leave it to my husband, he may leave everything to HIS children when he passes. What do I do?

This is a situation that comes up a lot more frequently these days as more and more people have multiple marriages. If you leave your estate to your husband, he can do whatever he likes with it once it is his. Relying on him to leave it to your children only is problematic. Instead, consider a trust. A trust could provide your husband with what he needs for the rest of his life and leave the remainder to your children. You can also leave a trust for your husband while leaving immediate bequests for your children. Choosing a good trustee in this case is very important. It should be a neutral party — not your spouse or your children — to ensure there’s no reckless spending.

As experienced estate attorneys, we can help you set up a Will or trust that will best serve your particular needs, and ensure that your estate is settled the way you want it to be.  We can help. We are only a phone call or e-mail away.

The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.

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