A Sizzling Estate Fight

It's Texas-sized barbecue, and it's right in the middle of a Texas-sized family feud, reports CBS News Economics Correspondent Ray Brady for Eye On America.

In Lockhardt, Texas, Kreuz's Market serves up heaping hunks of barbecue on butcher paper in a 99-year-old building that's so famous, it has been used in movies and videos.

But Kreuz's Market is now caught in a sizzling estate fight. It is typical, actually, of what is happening in families across America.

Edgar "Smitty" Schmidt built the business, then sold it to his two sons.

"We paid the price he asked for. We didn't dicker over price," says son Rick.

But when he died in 1990, Schmidt left the building to his daughter Nina instead. Now, she says her brothers are trying to muscle her into selling the building to them. But her brother, Rick Schmidt, insists his sister wants to double the rent, and won't give him a long-term lease.

"I was hoping we could work it out," says Nina.

All this is about more than just barbecue. Who inherits what these days is a high-stakes game. Some $7 trillion or more, the most in history, is passing from the hands of one generation, the World War II generation, to the baby boomers. It's a bonanza so huge, it's setting off bitter family feuds.

"Without getting really personal, she's gotten her way all her life," claims Rick.

"My brothers were always up there, the men-folk. The woman or the girl, you know, it's been difficult," says Nina.

And it's getting worse. Nina's brothers are moving the restaurant to another building. So, Nina's moving in, with her own barbecue place.

In Texas they're calling it a crisis, as barbecue is big. Texans eat more than $500 million a year of it. Lola Rice covers the business.

"This is more than just a restaurant," says Rice. "It's part of our history. It's part of what we consider our culture."

But can a cultural icon like Kruez's market survive this family split?

"To me, there are no winners. When you have a dispute like this, it's just losers," says Rice.

Many other families may be in for a similar shock. Some economists, using I.R.S. estate figures, believe 9.5 million households will be leaving $600,000 or more to their heirs. This is the kind of money that is tinder for more family conflagrations.

In real life, though, as Kreuz's market shows, when there's real money at stake, parents should adjust their wills so they are still making decisions for their children long after the parents are gone.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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