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Profile: Integrating Succession And Estate Planning To Provide A Foundation For Further Growth

Dealer New Cars Stock
Headshot of a dealership owner

Our client is a successful auto dealership owner, overseeing multiple dealerships for a broad range of auto manufacturers across a number of states. As he entered his 70s, he continued to take an active role in identifying, evaluating and buying additional dealerships. When one manufacturer asked him to supply an “after-death clause” (or business succession plan) before selling a dealership to him, he realized that he had no formal strategy for transferring his business. He had always assumed his oldest son and a nephew would take over the company but thought he had plenty of time to plan for the transition.


With the auto manufacturer’s request for an “after-death clause” as a prompt, our client made business succession and estate planning a priority and asked his Bank of America Private Bank advisor for help:

  • The client’s Bank of America Private Bank's wealth strategist evaluated his current will, and drew up a one-page document to show how the assets would be distributed after his passing. The client and wealth strategist immediately identified a number of problems with the stipulations (for example, it did not reflect his youngest son’s growing role in the business) and recognized the value of exploring modifications.
  • Open-ended discussions about the client’s values, family, business and legacy became the basis for an integrated business succession and estate planning strategy. The client spoke frankly about hopes for family members, relatives and those business associates who had earned his trust.
  • Business continuity was a crucial concern. The client asked Bank of America Private Bank to help him ensure that the dealerships would continue to be run by his operating managers after his death.
  • Philanthropy was also important. The client wanted to achieve his philanthropic goals during his lifetime, yet overseeing his charitable endeavors had become increasingly time-consuming.



  • With the client’s approval of a proposed plan, his Bank of America Private Bank team  in conjunction with the client's attorney created a succession planning strategy that met the manufacturer’s requirements for an “after-death clause.” It provided detailed information about who would take over the business if the client died or was no longer able to manage it.
  • Client created a management committee responsible for making operating decisions for the dealerships in the time between the client’s death and the eventual settlement of the estate.
  • At the same time, the Bank of America Private Bank team worked with the client's attorney and developed an estate planning strategy that directed the distribution of all his assets, both inside and outside the business.
  • Working with Bank of America Private Bank specialists, the client established a private foundation, allowing him to focus his support on the charities he valued most.


After working with his Bank of America Private Bank advisor, our client:

  • Satisfied the requirements of the auto manufacturer for a business succession plan, enabling him to complete the purchase of a new dealership. He went on to buy three more dealerships in the two years that followed.
  • Developed a succession strategy to ensure continuity of his business and role clarity for his chosen successors, which contributed to his own comfort.
  • Integrated estate planning with succession planning, providing for the financial security of a large, multigenerational family.
  • Established a $50 million charitable foundation. With Bank of America Private Bank's philanthropic specialists easing his administrative burden, he was able to take a more active role in making grants.

Giving Lasting Meaning to Your Wealth

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