I am a successful elderly businesswoman. My business (which I started from scratch) is conservatively valued at $7 million. My problem is that I have a daughter who wants all my money. I thought I could leave the business to the family, but apparently that’s not going to be the case. My daughter says she will challenge the will and just keep going till there is nothing left. What should I do?
I see this quite a bit — ‘kidults’ putting their lives on hold and waiting around for an inheritance they believe they’re entitled to. For no other reason than that they are a member of the ‘lucky sperm club’.
As a successful self-made woman, you’ll understand that money doesn’t, in itself, make you any happier — it just magnifies the person you already are.
In other words, your daughter won’t find happiness from the money you give her (or that she tries to prise from you).
Anyway, let me take off my tweed jacket, put down my pipe … and pick up my calculator.
If I were in your shoes, I’d do a few things:
First, I’d sell your business. It’s your life’s work, so you’ll want to ensure that your customers and staff are in safe hands. You should have the final say on who takes it over. If you leave it to your kids when you die, they’ll probably just flog it to the highest bidder.
Second, I’d think about placing your assets into a trust, which will bypass your estate and with it any potential claims from your daughter (that’s if you decide to give your precious little snowflake donuts).
Third, I’d think deeply about the legacy you want to leave. Right now at least part of your legacy will be your spoilt, entitled brats fighting over money they haven’t earned and don’t deserve.
You know what I’d do?
I’d pick a cause that your family believes in (funding a shelter for women fleeing domestic violence, granting wishes to kids with cancer, saving rare birds — whatever’s meaningful to you) and pour your millions into a charitable trust for that purpose. If you really want to help your family find happiness, teach them the power of generosity.