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Fair Versus Equal



A family owned 70 percent of a multi-million dollar company for two generations and was faced with the question of selling the business or passing it to the next generation. Only three of the third generation’s nine cousins had worked in the business, and the family wanted to be fair.


Abbot Downing helped the clients clarify their priorities and create a family business transition plan. Planning, family dynamics, and education specialists interviewed each stakeholder, then facilitated a series of family meetings. The family decided to keep the company, with six of the nine third-generation members taking over as owners. The family reached consensus to provide equivalently for the three heirs who would not inherit the business.


Second-generation family members revised their estate plans to direct the business to six cousins and other assets to the remaining three. They also began exploring strategies to transfer wealth during their lifetimes, with the goal of treating the third-generation cousins fairly, not identically.


These materials are provided for general education and illustration purposes only. They were prepared by Abbot Downing and have been obtained or derived from information we consider reliable, but we cannot guarantee their accuracy or completeness. Abbot Downing does not undertake to advise you of any change in the information contained in these materials.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Please consult your legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of you own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.