Inheriting Stock Options for a pre-IPO Start Up
June 25, 2010 12:27 AM Subscribe
Going with my mother next week to a meeting with the management team and surviving founders of a start-up company my dad founded. She's trying to figure out how to value the company shares he left her as part of her estate planning, hence the meeting.
My dad started a clean/green tech company with several of his coworkers back in the early 90s. It's 15 years later, my dad's been dead a year, and as part of the family trust he set up to cover my mom's living expenses includes his pre-IPO shares in the company.
Several of the other founders have also passed away and at this point management are people we don't know too well. They've kind of dropped my mom out of founder/shareholder communication since my dad died (which makes her feel snubbed). She's asked for a meeting to find out how the company is doing, partially because it is a legitimate issue her financial planner has brought up given the stock left as part of the trust.
Besides making sure my mom stays focused on business and leave her personal feelings (that the remaining staff are cold towards her since they weren't friends with my dad) out of the discussion, I also want to be prepped for the questions I should be asking them. It gets a little tricky because we're finding them to be slightly paranoid and evasive about any information. My dad used to get internal/confidential e-mails about financial and technology developments, but those have stopped since his death. They seem to be purposefully vague about everything because they're worried about their IP and also not saying anything about the stock value that could be misconstrued. Unfounded because my mom doesn't want to sell the stock and besides, I did the original due diligence for the patents, so I already know what their technology is.
tl;dr - Just to make sure my bases are covered, but what should I be asking them for in terms of the stock and overall financial performance/long term projections? Like I said, they're purposefully vague and I don't want to say/do anything to alienate them. But I do want to make sure that any financial information my mom has a right to, we make sure she gets.