Q: I have a litigation question. Almost three decades ago, my father lost everything he owned and didn't own due to unknown
reasons to this day; including an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Therefore, he owed the IRS a numerous amount of money. He ended up in the hospital and was treated for a financial breakdown. Moving forward, a few years later, he and my brother (who was only 18 years old at the time) started a business together. Due to my father owing taxes, my father put the business in my brothers name. My father has been in the car and cattle business all his life. He taught my brother the ropes to the automotive industry. Now, 25 years later, everything still stands as it did in the beginning with my brother only being the owner, on paper. All to avoid paying taxes. My father on paper only draws a social security check of $800.00 per month that he gives his ex-wife (my mother) to live on. It's very obvious that my dad lives an extravagant life-style. Of course, my brother now thinks he is God. My legal question is do I have a leg to stand on if something were to happen to my father?
A: I hope that my colleagues who practice probate law will also answer your question as probate law is not my practice area of law. That said, however, not much in your description of facts makes sense when even basic legal principles are applied. I am not sure how taxes are avoided simply because the auto dealership is your brother's name. Regardless of who owns it, businesses do pay taxes. Also, the taxes owed by your dad when he transferred the business to your brother likely stayed/followed the business. Your dad's avoidance of taxes does not mean that taxes were avoided. Also, auto dealerships, and most businesses for that matter, are generally incorporated or placed as some other business entity such as an LLC. It is highly doubtful your brother's name would be seen publicly as the "owner." My best suggestion would be that you meet with a local business attorney and have the discussion you are trying to have here online with the local attorney who can ask specific questions and provide you with better information.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.