Estée Lauder’s Ecstasy of Achievement
“Serenity is pleasant, but it lacks the ecstasy of achievement.” Undoubtedly, Estée Lauder believed in her own words. After all, she was one of the most driven individuals in the history of business. Lauder was said to never take lunch nor to have ever worked a day in her life without selling. Beyond her incomparable drive, Lauder believed fervently in her own self-made beauty empire. Yet, her self-professed consumption in business made her single-minded. This proved painful for Lauder’s loved ones when it was revealed that she had spent all of her time and energy into building her capital and very little into planning for what would become of it once she was gone.
Lauder’s Early Life & Career
Born in 1908, Estée practically came out of the womb a master-saleswoman. As a young teenager, she began selling her Uncle’s facial creams to her local beauty salon. She continued to find success and, in 1946, Lauder founded Estée Lauder Companies. In 1995, it was revealed that the company was already worth around $5 billion when they went public. By the time of Lauder’s death, that number had doubled to $10 billion.
Estée Lauder, Multibillionare, Leaves Behind Big Bill
When the founder of Estée Lauder died in April 2004, the multibillionaire businesswoman left behind not only a legacy as one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, but also a huge estate tax bill of around $55 million. The three family trusts sold shares to provide funds to pay estate taxes and other obligations. It is estimated they sold between11.3 million shares, worth around $500 million. Even after selling that many shares the Lauder family members would still own about 45.5 per cent of the stock and nearly 90 per cent of the combined voting power. At the time of her death in 2004, the Estee Lauder company was registering annual sales of more than $5 billion.
Estée Lauder once jabbed, “Accountants and lawyers make great accountants and lawyers. We need them, but we make the business decisions.” We commend Estée for her success in her industry. However, she lacked the perspective to acknowledge the old saying; a jack of all trades is a master on none. Had she put more faith in an attorney to assist in her estate planning, Lauder’s family might have avoided the colossal estate tax she left behind. Want to minimize your estate planning taxes and/or avoid the probate process? Contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.