LP Preserves a Legacy
June 19, 2015
A Chicago businessman left a legacy that could make a family proud. Starting a warehouse and distribution business in the 1970s, he had grown the operation to include more than 20 interrelated companies. But when he died with only emergency estate planning in place, his already complex affairs became tangled in a messy dispute. A partner in some of the businesses claimed an ownership stake in all of the companies. To make matters more challenging, his corporate lawyer predeceased him by a few months so there was no one to turn to help clarify the confusing web of corporate relationships.
Still mourning her loss, the deceased’s widow became the executor of his estate. LP stepped in to represent her and bring resolution to the emotionally charged matter.
- Achieve an amicable resolution of the legal dispute that did not place the legacy of LP’s client in the hands of a court unfamiliar with the history of his business affairs.
- Reach a result that would place an end to the operational limbo into which the businesses had fallen during the dispute and provide clarity on the proper tax treatment of the estate’s holdings.
- Chart a clear path forward for the future operation of the businesses.
Concerns and Issues:
- Supporting family members in making challenging legal and business decisions in a time of loss.
- The difficulty of accessing facts in a situation where multiple main players had passed away, including the deceased’s corporate attorney.
- The confusing state of the paper trail, which made forensic work on the corporate relationships very challenging and expensive.
What We Did
With the dispute with the former partner still unsettled, the deceased’s widow passed away, leaving executor responsibilities to the businessman’s daughter. LP immediately began working to educate the daughter on the issues at stake. Within months, LP had negotiated a 50-50 ownership agreement with the partner, and collaborated with all parties to develop of streamlined holding company structure and eliminate the ambiguities in the documentation that had triggered the dispute in the first place. The client is now in a position to focus on the future growth of the business that is building upon its past successes.