Business Succession and the Asher Estate
(9 pages of text)
In December 2017, Ali Asher, the second-eldest child of Aziz Asher, was conducting research for his father on the best way to restructure the family business to prepare for succession. Asher’s parents and siblings all lived in Canada, while Ali had been running a start-up in India for nearly two years. The family had a real estate and construction business in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ali’s older sister had special needs and lived with her parents, so any family estate plan would need to consider her ongoing care and well-being. His brother, who lived in a suite in the family residence, had a close bond with this sister, worked closely with their father, and had personally invested in one of the family’s main real estate assets. The second sister lived in an apartment in Toronto, which the family had helped her purchase, and had little interest in the family business, though she wished to receive an equitable share of the overall estate. Ali believed that the family business and estate were highly vulnerable to both internal and external forces; he needed to recommend a suitable option for safeguarding the family’s estate and transitioning the family business to the children in a manner that would satisfy both his father’s conditions and the wishes of the other family members.
This case is suitable for use in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on family business or in executive education programs on family business, focusing on issues related to succession. The case provides an example of a family business faced with the challenge of determining what steps to take to facilitate succession to the next generation. Succession in a family business is more complex than in a regular business because it involves emotions and interpersonal relationships as well as the usual business concerns. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Describe the most common methods for managing succession in a family business.
- Outline the challenges each of these methods can and cannot address.
- Explain how to use documents such as wills and family constitutions and formal legal structures such as holding companies, family trusts, and dual-class shares to manage succession in a family business.
- Recommend an optimal plan for safeguarding a family’s business and personal interests and transitioning a family business to the children.
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
Canada, Small, 2017
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