The Importance of Good Estate Planning
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., at the end of this Nextel Cup season.
His dad, the original Dale Earnhardt, formed DEI. By all accounts, the original Dale intended for his kids to be part of his company.
When he died, however, he left DEI to his wife, Teresa. Teresa was not Dale, Jr.'s mother. Teresa is Jr.'s step-mom.
Jr. and Teresa have never been exceptionally close.
Jr.'s contract with DEI ends this year. He wanted a controlling interest in the company to stay. Teresa said "no." Jr. is on his way out the door.
Many fans out there agree with ESPN.com poster sdelliott31:
I don't think Dale Sr. would have been happy with this split. Teresa should have done the right thing and gave majority ownership to Jr. and Kelley [Jr.'s sister and business partner]. I think Teresa let her own personal feelings and greed get in the way of family even though she claimed that she wouldn't.
All of the blame does not fall on Teresa. If Sr. wanted Jr. to take over the company, he should have said so in his will.
For example, he could have let Teresa run the company until Jr. turned 30 years old. Upon Jr.'s 30th birthday (or whenever Sr. wanted), control would transfer to Jr.
For whatever reason, the original Dale did not. He let Teresa have complete control forever. It is not fair to criticize her for exercising it.
Dale, Jr., and Teresa will both fare well.