Category: Probate
Tags: Estate Planning

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – a Victim of his Dad’s Failure to Plan?

Posted on: May 11th, 2007
Yesterday Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced that he is leaving what was his father’s company, Dale Earnhardt, Inc.  (DEI), to hopefully drive for another, more competitive company.  When Dale Sr. died, he left ownership of DEI to his wife, Teresa, who is Dale Jr.’s stepmother.  Dale Jr. had been in negotiations with Teresa, hoping to acquire a 51% stake in DEI.  The failure of the negotiations led to Dale Jr.’s decision.
This appears to be the result of poor planning, or lack of planning, on Dale Sr.’s part.  I can’t imagine that he would have wanted his son to be shut out of DEI.  Had Dale Sr. properly addressed succession planning for his business, he could have passed control of DEI to Dale Jr. while still providing plenty of resources for Teresa’s support.
Similar results occur everyday in family businesses.  Succession planning does not have to be particularly complex or expensive, but it can save family relationships, thousands of dollars in legal fees, and even the business itself.
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