One Answer to a Family Business Owner’s Wish to Treat His Children Equally

One Answer to a Family Business Owner’s
Wish to Treat His Children Equally
Northeastern University

Family Business Quarterly
by Joseph F. Blum

How does a parent who owns a successful family business treat all his children “equally” when only some are working in the business?

In our age of career and family mobility, this question represents an increasingly common dilemma facing owners of family companies as they try to do estate planning. It raises a host of financial and emotional issues for both the older and younger generation. For example, how can children who aren’t working in the family business be granted equal portions of an estate that consists primarily of the business without alienating the children who are working in the business?

Absent resolution, these and other such questions can lead to feelings of resentment in both generations. Complete equality in such situations, as in much of life, is nearly impossible to achieve. But increasingly, those of us who work with family business estate matters are developing approaches that create feelings of equality so that everyone involved feels satisfied with the outcome. More…

Family Limited Partnerships

Family Limited Partnerships UMass

Related Matters Newsletter
Summer 1995

by Ronald P. Weiss, Esq.
Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas
Springfield, Massachusetts

You pay a fortune in taxes. You pay income taxes on what you earn and on what your investments earn. You pay taxes on what your employees earn. You even pay taxes on inflation. And the income tax rules are so complex, so you have to spend days and incur substantial fees just to pay your income taxes. Then, when you die, the government plans on taking a substantial portion of the wealth you have left after all the income taxes. If you are in the highest income and estate tax brackets, this means that for every dollar you earn that is taxed at ordinary income tax rates, your children will inherit only 27 cents.

The laws of our country are designed to make it difficult for you to transmit a substantial estate relatively intact to your children. In response, estate planners have created a number of techniques to help you leave as much as you can to the next generation. Unfortunately, the most common techniques, outright gifts and placing assets into irrevocable trusts, will most likely put assets outside of your control. This may make you uncomfortable if income producing assets, especially your family business, are involved. These methods may also give rise to estate and gift taxes based on the full value of what has been transferred. More…