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How do I estimate the value of my family's business?

As this Minnesota blog has discussed in the past, sometimes, probate litigation arises because a family cannot agree on how to value a family business when a long-time owner and manager dies. This type of dispute is difficult because most family businesses are not publically held companies. As a result, it is very hard to get an exact idea of how much a share in the business is worth and, by extension, the exact value of an estate.

With that said, however, a Saint Paul, Minnesota, resident who unfortunately finds himself or herself facing probate litigation may want to get a rough estimate of how much a business is actually worth. Not only is this information helpful in litigation, it can also serve as a useful tool, should mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution become available.

There are some helpful websites that even experts in estate valuation use to get a rough idea of how much a business is worth. These may serve as useful starting points for coming to an approximate value of a business, and, for those who have any knowledge of how the business is structured and operated, should be relatively easy to use.

Another approach, which is similar to a market analysis in real estate, is to find a business that is traded on the open market. This business needs to have similar characteristics to the family operation that is in dispute. Moreover, it is important to remember that the family business has its own unique characteristics, which could mean that a person needs to adjust his or her estimate.

While getting a rough estimate of the value of a family business is not too difficult to do and a good idea, the estimate does not necessarily mean that the question of business valuation becomes easy. Often, a team of professionals, including an experienced Minnesota probate litigation attorney, is necessary for placing an accurate value on a family business.

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Mason & Helmers
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