Family Business and Personal Estate Planning

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Family Business and Personal Estate Planning

Medicine Hat and area have many family businesses, especially in the agricultural industry. Family businesses present unique challenges when it comes to creating a plan to transfer the family business to the next generation. Where a significant amount of value is tied up in the family business it is difficult to develop a successful plan which will allow for the business to transfer to the child who is interested in operating the business while at the same time being fair to those children not involved in the business. Failing to take the time to develop a plan and communicate the plan could create intergenerational and sibling conflict which could carry on for years. The TV show Dallas, for those of us old enough to remember, was a good example of the feuding which can go on in a family for years and most of us do not want to pass on that form of a legacy to our family.

The goal of most business owners is to develop a plan which results not only in the business being transferred but also maintaining the family harmony which existed prior to the transfer of the business. Corporations and trusts are useful tools for implementing a business succession plan. It is easy to obtain information and professional advice on their advantages and disadvantages from both a legal and tax perspective. In my opinion, although important, there will be more chance of success for these tools to create a successful plan where the plan is not only shared with the family but input is obtained from family members on the plan.

Most professional advisors are more comfortable with helping on the technical aspects of a plan and not a lot of attention is paid to the personal issues. From my experience, helping families obtain input on the plan and communicating the resulting plan to family members is just as important as the tools being used to put the plan in place. For this reason Pritchard and Co Law Firm, LLP is sponsoring the public seminar “Willing Wisdom – An Evening with Thomas Deans” on Tuesday June 25, 2019 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00p.m. at Medicine Hat College.

Tom Deans Ph.D is the Canadian author of the New York Times Best Selling book Willing Wisdom ( His book explains his process – 7 questions to ask family members and others – designed to help avoid family conflict and facilitate important estate-planning conversations. Included in the ticket price of $20.00, is your own copy of Willing Wisdom.

This event provides an opportunity for people such as you to learn about wise and timely estate planning practices and strategies. Topics of discussion will include:

  • How to identify the challenges of succession planning within the family;
  • How to approach important estate planning discussions between parents and children; and,
    • How to address challenges in existing or new estate plans to ensure successful transition of wealth and preservation of family relationships.

To register for this event, go to this site:


Malcolm Pritchard
Malcolm Pritchard helps you navigate the turning points of life. He is a partner with Pritchard & Co. Law Firm, LLP. Contact Malcolm at 403-527-4411 or at