Can my wife or I be held legally or financially responsible for a corporation debt that we are about to inherit shares in?
Question Details: My wife will inherit approximately 1/3 of the shares of a family farm corporation. The farm was incorporated in the 70's, the shares do not pay any dividends, no money is received by us. The corporation took out a large loan around 13 years ago, signed by all officers of corporation, with the farm acreage as collateral. Her brother, after passing of their father and his wife, is now president of corporation, holding 55 of the shares, and runs/manages the farm. He says if we don't sell out to him a great reduction in value of acreage, that we will be responsible for 1/3 of loan, even though we have never received any money from loan or from the farm operation. Is this possible?
No, the owners (shareholders) of a corporation are NOT personally liable or responsible the corporation's debts, regardless of how they acquired it (e.g. buying it; inheriting it; etc.)--that's the entire point of corporations, after all, to protect the owners from personal liability. You would only be liable IF you co-signed or guaranteed the loan; if not, you are not responsible for it.