Skip to Main Content

Helping Family Businesses
Prosper Across Generations®

Justice Among Children

I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall over how to divide my estate among my adult children. I am torn as to how to look at the issue; as a father or as a chairman:

We empathize with this parent’s dilemma; it is both normal and predictable.
Research shows that over time, family-owned businesses outperform their non-family counterparts. Not transferring stock to family outside the business may have its benefits. An inactive, non-owning sibling may find the distribution unfair as he watches the business’s profits and – by association, perceived or real – wealth of the active, owning sibling going ballistic.
Over time, when children are educated about and given an opportunity to appreciate the responsibilities of ownership (see “Family Business Ownership: How to be an Effective Shareholder,” Book #15 in the Family Business Leadership Series), you may find you’re able to collaborate with your children and arrive at a mutually agreed-upon way to distribute your assets to the next generation. The junior (now adult) generation’s participation in the decision-making process removes much of the burden of this divisive decision from your shoulders. And by involving kids in a decision they’ll ultimately have to live with, they’ll feel that the decision they themselves made was just and fair. The goal is to leave the children something beyond your wealth.



Articles purchased or downloaded from Family Business Consulting Group® are designed to provide general information and are not intended to provide specific legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. Since your individual situation may present special circumstances or complexities not addressed in this article and laws and regulations may change, you should consult your professional advisors for assistance with respect to any matter discussed in this article. Family Business Consulting Group®, its editors and contributors shall have no responsibility for any actions or inactions made in reliance upon information contained in this article. Articles are based on experience on real family businesses. However, names and other identifying characteristics may be changed to protect privacy.

The copyright on this article is held by Family Business Consulting Group®. All rights reserved.
Articles may be available for reprint with permission. To learn more about using articles for your publication, contact

8770 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste 1340W, Chicago, IL 60631
P: 773.604.5005 E: 

© 2019 The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

close (X)