The ongoing difficulties among the founding families of Boar’s Head hit home the important lesson of making our intentions official—legally—before we die.
How much do you know about the people behind the Boar’s Head business and fortune? Chances are not that much, because the founding families have managed to keep operations—and their fortune out of the public eye for over a century. Now a salty family dispute over honoring intentions gives us all another impetus for putting our affairs in order when we have the opportunity to do so: who wants a public, family dispute?
Begun in 1905 in Brooklyn as the Brunckhorst and Bischoff families began selling ham and other meats from a horse-drawn wagon, the company is now based in Florida and estimated to earn around $1 billion annually. As reported by the New York Daily News:
A salty beef is sizzling among the heirs to the Boar’s Head fortune, no matter how you slice it.The death of Barbara Brunckhorst — daughter of Boar’s Head founder Frank Brunckhorst — has sparked a court fight among the two families who control the secretive deli meats company….On one side of the dispute is Frank Brunckhorst III, the grandson of the Boar’s Head’s founder and Barbara’s nephew. On the other side is Eric Bischoff, grandson of Bruno Bischoff, who was Frank Brunckhorst’s brother-in-law.
Barbara Brunckhorst’s dying wish was that a “substantial portion” of her stake in the meat company go to environmental charities and neuroscience research, according to a lawsuit filed by Frank Brunckhorst III in Manhattan Federal Court.…He says he had a “deep bond” with Barbara and intends to follow through with her plan. Bischoff, however, allegedly says Barbara’s shares should be his.
The Barbara Brunckhorst Foundation has approximately $350 million in assets and has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the Sierra Club Foundation, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council, according to the suit. Frank Brunckhorst III says Barbara’s wealth should go toward those causes, as well as Carnegie Mellon University. She died of brain cancer in Virginia on Nov. 18.
Communication and Bonding
As the lawsuit unfolds, we are likely to continue bearing witness to the details of the Boar’s Head family conflict and estate plan. Take heart though—and get your will going: legal experts remind us that ordinarily, courts affirm the validity of wills, looking at the facts and focusing on what is provable. To say the least, contesting wills can be very taxing on the emotional and financial resources of most families. Whether our assets are many or few timely, open and clear communications with family members about our intentions are best for all! Review the basics of last wills and testaments right here.
It is also important to carefully designate an executor to oversee the administration of our affairs upon death. Typically a close friend or family member is named, though that is not a requirement. It’s important to make sure the executor understands the responsibilities—and your wishes. For example, if you do intend to leave money to charity, that should be in your will (or a trust) and ideally your executor and relations will know about your wishes and be ready to honor them.
Although frequently waived among family and friends when a will is prepared, a fiduciary bond, known as an estate or executor bond can be a helpful way to instill confidence in the administration of the estate. Sometimes during the process of probate, the court can require a fiduciary bond—even if originally waived.
Fiduciary bonds guarantee the faithful performance of the executor in accordance with state law. It is easy to obtain all types of fiduciary bonds, including estate or executor bonds, instantly, from leading, national provider, Colonial Surety Company. Just get a quote online, fill in your information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond from anywhere. It’s that simple!
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