A Two-Part Valuation: Initial Estate Settlement and Probate Lawsuit

Situation #1

The owner of a seafood restaurant located on the coast of Massachusetts passed away. Lou Pereira of Merrimack Business Appraisers was hired by the estate’s attorney to prepare a valuation of the restaurant as 50% was left to the owner’s son from his first marriage and 50% to his second wife.

Merrimack Business Appraisers’ Approach #1

Lou Pereira prepared a thorough and detailed valuation of the restaurant including photographs. The valuation accounted for the restaurant having sustained significant damage due to coastal storms, the negative impact of deferred maintenance on the building, and the adverse effect on valuation of its debt.

Valuation Outcome #1

Based on the detailed valuation report prepared, the estate was settled and the spouse of the deceased bought out the son’s interest in the business.

Situation #2

For many years, the spouse of the deceased, now the restaurant owner, invested in the property, repairing the damages, fixing and improving it and paying off the debt. She sold the business five years later.

The sale resulted in the son’s mother filing a lawsuit claiming her son had been cheated. The business owner who had bought out the son years before, hired Lou Pereira of Merrimack Business Appraisers to review the valuation of the business at the time she sold and to present his findings by testifying in probate court.

Merrimack Business Appraisers’ Approach #2

The initial detailed business valuation from years prior served as the basis for Lou Pereira’s analysis and testimony. The initial valuation thoroughly validated the valuation of the restaurant at the time of settling the estate. Pereira leveraged this initial valuation to then document the value of the investments and improvements that had since been made to the business, testifying that the valuation at the time of sale was a legitimate valuation. 

Valuation Outcome #2

The court agreed to Lou Pereira’s presentation and explanation that the owner’s investments, improvements, and elimination of debt justified the business valuation at the time of sale and confirmed that there was not a case for the son having been cheated.

Business Dispute Over Fair Market Value


A property owner sought to sell property that included an operating restaurant. The lease between the property owner and restaurant included a clause that the property owner would pay the restaurant owner fair market value in the event of selling the property. 

To determine fair market value, the restaurant owner hired Lou Pereira of Merrimack Business Appraisers to prepare a business valuation of the restaurant. When the valuation was complete, the property owner disputed the value and hired two nationally recognized business appraisers: one to prepare a separate business valuation of the restaurant and the other to complete a review of the valuation prepared by Pereira.

Merrimack Business Appraisers’ Approach

  • Lou Pereira, President of Merrimack Business Appraisers, prepared a detailed and thorough business valuation applying his proven process to substantiate ‘fair market value’ of the restaurant per the lease agreement.

Valuation Outcome

The case went to Superior Court where Lou Pereira testified to the restaurant valuation he had prepared. The Court ruled in favor of the valuation prepared by Pereira, dismissing the valuations of the other two valuation professionals. The ruling was appealed and progressed to Appellate Court where the judge upheld the Superior Court ruling. Fair market value was determined by the business valuation from Merrimack Business Appraisers for the property owner to pay the restaurant owner as part of selling the property.

Valuation of Shareholder Interest for Settlement of an Estate


A stakeholder of an automobile dealership passed away and the company needed a valuation for the settlement of the estate. Each party involved, the company and a family member for the estate, hired professionals to prepare individual business valuations that were to be reviewed and decided by the American Arbitration Association of Boston.

The family member hired an ‘industry expert’, a CPA specializing in the automobile industry. The company hired Merrimack Business Appraisers, a firm focused on preparing and presenting detailed business valuations across industries, including automobile dealerships.

Merrimack Business Appraisers’ Approach

  • Lou Pereira prepared a thorough and detailed valuation of the business and the value of the fractional ownership for the shareholder to settle the estate.
  • The detailed valuation report, exceeding one hundred pages, was reviewed and presented to the arbitrator as part of the proceedings to substantiate the valuation.
  • The CPA prepared a two page written analysis of the shareholder valuation.

Valuation Outcome

The brief valuation prepared by the accountant was disregarded by the arbitrator. The business valuation and associated stakeholder valuation prepared by Lou Pereira of Merrimack Business Appraisers was accepted by the American Association of Arbitration as the value to settle the estate.

Valuation for Business Partner Dissolution


A mid-sized manufacturing company was owned by two partners who no longer wanted to work together. As a valuation firm, Merrimack Business Appraisers was retained by both parties to determine the fair market value of a 50% ownership interest in the business so that one partner could buy out the other.

Merrimack Business Appraisers’ Approach

  • Leveraging a proven and painstaking business valuation process, Merrimack President Lou Pereira prepared a thorough and detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis of this manufacturing business, including its history, products, services, customers, management, employees, facilities, capital structure, and competitors. Pereira completed a detailed financial analysis for the past five years with a peer group and trend analysis.
  • Pereira then constructed a forecast of expected future operations including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flows. An income approach and market approach were used. The income approach using a discounted cash flow analysis allowed the parties to understand the basis of the value and why it was reasonable and credible.

Valuation Outcome

Pereira’s detailed business valuation report fully documented the value of the manufacturing company and both parties accepted the company value without further negotiation, which saved the clients the cost of litigation.