When you are a business owner and thinking about estate planning, you probably wonder what you can do to make sure the business continues on in the fashion that you'd like.
This was likely a concern of Robert Treboux, the owner of Le Veau d'Or, who passed away recently at the age of 87. Treboux kept Le Veau d'Or a traditional French restaurant from when he purchased it in 1985 until now. It was called an "extraordinary time warp" and Treboux had said that diners wanting trends could "go to other places that have the plate with the little bit of food in the middle," according to The New York Times.
Was there anything he could have done to assure that Le Veau d'Or would continue on his legacy after he was gone?
It's probably the case that Treboux had already placed managers and a chef who were happy keeping the restaurant in its traditional garb. Beyond hiring trusted employees that would carry on the business, a business owner could potentially place the business ownership in the hands of a trust.
A trust is an estate-planning tool that can replace a will, as well as help manage property while you're alive. Trusts are used for other means as well, but we'll stick to the estate planning. Basically, a trust is a legal entity that owns your property and is controlled by a trustee (which can be you) until the trust governs that it be transferred.
Generally, trusts are used to avoid the probate process. Probate can incur many court and attorney fees, especially when there are complex assets involved. However, trusts can be used to better control gifts. For example, you can leave your entire estate to your child, but not distribute all of it until the child has reached certain milestones in their life.
Similarly, it could be possible to require certain things to happen for ownership of a business to be passed in a trust. So if Treboux had wanted to make sure that his restaurant stayed the same, he could have placed ownership in a trust. Once it was in the trust, he could possibly condition the trust on his grantees hiring specific types chefs, or something along those lines.
It remains to be seen what happens to Le Veau d'Or, but it will be remembered as Robert Treboux's legacy in the City.