October 8, 2011 was a sad day for professional football purists; it will be remembered as the day that legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis passed away. Davis was a controversial figure. Loved by many and not as much by others, he was almost universally respected in the world of sports. He became the owner of the Raiders in 1970, and his teams captured four AFC Championships and three Super Bowls after the merger between the AFL and the NFL. Al Davis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992, and this indicates just how highly respected he was by other people in the pro football business and his passion for football.
In many cases, a passionate business owner leaves his heirs unprepared to take over the business. Sometimes, the business has to be sold to pay for estate taxes or because the heirs are completely unprepared to take over the business — many business owners make no succession plans at all, much less adequate ones.
Reports are coming out that Davis took the steps to make sure the Raiders could stay in the Davis family. According to reports from NBC Sports and the San Francisco Chronicle, Al Davis had a solid estate plan in place; sources close to the matter indicate that Davis’ wife Carol and his son Mark will be assuming ownership of his majority share in the Raiders.
Because of the estate tax and other succession issues, it can take careful planning to make sure that your family can retain ownership when a business is being passed down. Al Davis was apparently aware of this and he planned his estate carefully to be certain that his wishes would be carried out and that his Raider legacy would carry on in the manner of his choosing.