Published: May 31, 2018

1. Why is it important to have a discussion about buy-sell agreements in the context of estate planning?

The ownership interest in a closely held business represents a substantial portion of an individual’s wealth.  Determining how much his or her family will be paid for that interest and when payment will occur is a very important part of the estate plan.  If the value is trapped in the business or can only be extracted over a long period of time, that changes how the surviving spouse and family can expect to enjoy the transmission of wealth.

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Published: April 22, 2017

St. Joseph's University's Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship hosted business consultant Jeff Grimshaw at its Dine With The Dean breakfast meeting on Thursday, April 20. After remarks by the Dean, Joseph DiAngelo, Jr., Mr. Grimshaw discussed how leaders affect culture in a business in five ways: their decisions and actions; what they reward and recognize; what they tolerate, or don't; how they behave informally; and their formal communications.

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Published: April 4, 2017

I've written before about beer, specifically the program at St. Joseph University's Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship that featured members of the Yuengling family, whose business is growing. But apparently the opposite can also happen. A recent article in the New York Times describes the downfall of the Stroh brewing empire, and references a book by a member of the family: "Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss", by Frances Stroh. It took many missteps to reduce the fortunes of a family that owned the third largest beer company in America.

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Published: March 2, 2017

I've written before about the Haub School of Business at St. Joseph's University and its Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship. Another program was presented on February 23 on the St. Joe's campus, titled Building Shared Mission, Vision & Values. The program began with a discussion of shared family values by IFBE's Director, Mary Nicoletti. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring two family business members of IFBE's Advisory Board, Taylor Fernley and Reshma Moorthy, together with Marc Kramer, the Family Business Executive in Residence.

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Published: October 31, 2016

The Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at St. Joseph University's Haub School of Business presented another interesting program for family businesses on October 27, 2016. The program, which was part of a series sponsored by Wells Fargo and Abbot Downing, was titled "The ABCs of Educating and Engaging the Next Generation." The principal presenter was Meghan Juday, who is a consultant to the Initiative and Chair of the Family Council at Ideal Industries.

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Published: September 28, 2016

St. Joseph's University's Haub School of Business sponsors the Initiative for Family Business and Entrepreneurship, and I am honored to be a member of its Advisory Board. Yesterday, September 27, 2016, the Initiative presented an entertaining and informative program featuring two generations of the Yuengling brewing family, owners of America's oldest brewery.

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Published: September 14, 2016

I've written before about the new proposed Treasury Regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code. The new regulations would limit the ability of owners of family businesses and other closely held business interests to transfer a portion of their ownership at a discount. These regulations would change asset transfer techniques that have been used for many years, and that have saved taxpayers many millions of dollars in federal estate taxes and state inheritance taxes.

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Published: August 4, 2016

Many books and articles talk about the ongoing transfer of business interests from one generation to the next within families. One of the most valuable techniques in that process is the ability to transfer business interests at discounted values, and by doing so to transfer more value within the existing gift and estate tax exemptions. Discounts of substantial amount have been based on the lack of marketability of closely held business interests and the fact that they generally represent only a minority interest in the business, and therefore do not permit control of the business.

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Published: May 21, 2016

The Institute for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at St. Joseph's University presented an interesting program on May 19, 2016 on the importance of family meetings, and families working toward an understanding of their shared values, mission and goals. In two separate talks, Meghan Juday and Darcy and Hans Latta discussed why it's important that families understand the values implicit in the operation of their businesses and how they can work together to accomplish the goals of both the families and their businesses.

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Published: October 2, 2011

An interesting article in Private Wealth magazine- “Why Wealth Disappears”- examines the seemingly iron law that wealth created in the first generation disappears in the third one. The author uses several well-known families where this took place, which always makes for a fascinating story. What causes this to happen? Of course, the first generation has to work hard and for long years to create the wealth, and for that reason has a better appreciation of what it took to achieve that level of success.

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