Mark is a lawyer whose extended family owned newspapers and TV stations in a midwestern city. They were one of the wealthiest families in the city where they lived. Sadly, some members of the second generation—the children of the wealthmakers—got embroiled in nasty litigation over the family assets. The fighting dragged on for many years, consumed big gobs of their assets, and tore the family apart. Mark: “This enormous rupture had a very negative impact on my generation, and I consider that to be a tragedy. Family businesses are very much wrapped up in a family’s identity, so it was a big blow to me when we sold all the businesses, and I know it was a big blow to my dad. I have hardly any contact anymore with my cousin Jack, who I grew up with. … My wife is very bitter about the whole thing because she saw what it did to me. Family business fights are terrible.” Please return to read the sequel to this post.
Barbara Blouin, Labors of Love: The Legacy of Inherited Wealth, Book II, The Inheritance Project