Divorce and the family business

Divorce and the family business

We’ve all heard the family business statistics before, but they’re worth repeating. Approximately 80 – 90 percent of U.S. businesses are family firms.1 While many family businesses thrive in today’s economy, life and personal relationships can take a turn and have an effect on you, your family, and your family business.

A family business tends to be the most valuable asset of a marriage. Typically, it is also inherently illiquid. That means that it is difficult to divide in a divorce without either having a divorced spouse as a partner or having a forced sale at potentially fire sale prices. Neither of these results is ideal, but if planning is not done in advance of a divorce (and ideally before the marriage), they could become reality under the equitable distribution rules applicable to divorce in most states.

There are various strategies and tools you can put in place to help protect yourself, your family, and your business, including setting up pre- and post-nuptial agreements, trusts and buy-sell agreements.

This column is sponsored by The Thornhill Wealth Management Group. Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you and discuss how we can help you mitigate life’s circumstances that can affect your family’s future. G. Conley Thornhill, CFP®, CIMA®, Senior Vice President-Wealth Management, or Eric E. Johnson, CFP®, CIMA®, Vice President–Wealth Management, can be reached at (863) 298-3600 or toll free at (888) 411-5049. Email Conley at conley.thornhill@ubs.com or Eric at eric.e.johnson@ubs.com.

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column by CONLEY THORNHILL

BIO: Conley works with high net worth individuals as well as institutional clients by delivering highly customized wealth management solutions. In addition, in 2010 and 2011 he was selected as one of the Barron’s Top 1,000 Advisor’s. Conley Thornhill is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation.

1 J.H. Astrachan and M.C. Shanker, “Family Businesses’ Contribution to the U.S. Economy: A Closer Look,” Family Business Review, September 2003 (cited in Family Firm Institute, Inc., Global Data Points, http://www.ffi.org/?page=GlobalDataPoints).

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