When you leave investment or business assets to your heirs, it’s likely that you are trying to secure both the future of your heirs and your own financial or professional legacy. While you can do a lot to create estate administration that goes along with your wishes, it’s important to remember that nothing about the future is guaranteed.
The heirs of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, have learned that lesson over the years. In a most recent report, it was revealed that the heirs have lost a combined $14 billion over this year. Four of the heirs lost close to $6 billion in the first quarter of 2015 alone.
The losses were due to slower-than-projected growth and economic currency fluctuation. Though the retailer is still profitable, those fluctuations ate into some of those profits, causing losses for the heirs. The retailer’s stock also dropped, and per-share earnings came in lower than expected. Sam’s Club, the company’s warehouse division, also posted poor financial performances for the quarter.
What does this mean for Walton’s heirs? It’s not likely any of them are made destitute by this turn of events, but the financial performance of their legacy is something they will need to keep an eye on.
What does this mean for you? While most people aren’t inheriting — or passing on — a national retail chain, many individuals do pass on business or investment assets. Whencreating or administering estates, remember that economic futures are not set in stone. When possible, work with experienced individuals to create estate documents that hold up over time and plans that take into account changing financial and personal climates.
Source: Bloomberg Business, “Sam Walton’s Heirs Lose Almost $6 Billion in One Day,” Marine Strauss and Renee Dudley, May. 20, 2015
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