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Heirs of former motel owner gridlocked with business partner

Two men in another state went into business together in the 1990s. They were co-owners of a motel and remained partners in business for approximately 25 years. One of the men has since died, leaving his three heirs his half of the business. As sometimes occurs in Illinois estates under similar circumstances, a battle has since erupted between the three siblings and their deceased father’s former business partner, who still owns 50% of the motel. 

The man has requested that the court order that the business be dissolved. He claims that his former partner and friend’s heirs have systematically attempted a hostile takeover of his business. Among other things, he claims they have misused company money, have removed corporate documents from the motel office and have also blocked a refinancing plan.

When the decedent was still alive, he and his business partner had signed a contract to make certain rooms in the motel available as a homeless shelter. The surviving partner says his former friend’s heirs have delayed signing a new contract for continuing those services. He told the court he believes the siblings are trying to force him to agree to sell the business or cede control of ownership.

If Illinois heirs are left an inheritance that includes business ownership in an enterprise that involves a partner, things can get messy if everyone is not on the same page. It is understandable that anyone who inherits a business would want to protect his or her interests if a still-living partner tries to get the court to order a dissolution. It is often best to seek immediate legal guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney rather than try to address such issues on one’s own.

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